Maryam Shafipour

Human Rights Defender

Region(s): Middle East
Country of focus: Iran
Based in Toronto

Maryam Shafipour  is an Iranian human rights activist and former political prisoner based in Canada.

She endured two years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, including 67 days  in solitary confinement, for promoting women’s rights, free speech, reformist politics and release of political prisoners. She was a student activist leader and member of the women’s committee of former speaker of Parliament Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign for President in Iran’s June 2009 elections.

She was released early from a seven-year sentence in 2015 after an international campaign by human rights organizations condemning her conviction and sentence and demanding her release. Among the charges against her was “spreading propaganda against the system.”

Upon her release, Maryam launched a campaign ‘In Support of Imprisoned Mothers’ with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi,  the exiled founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran.

In 2016, Maryam launched the #FreeNarges social media campaign following the sentencing of human rights activist Narges Mohammadi to 16 years in prison, as part of a concerted effort to draw attention to Narges’ case and to  discrimination against Iranian women. Narges was released in 2020 but rearrested in November 2021, partly for campaigning against ‘White Torture,’ a form of solitary confinement in a monochrome cells. Shafipour  immediately relaunched her campaign calling for Narges’ release.