January 19, 2012

life in general: un-democratic iranian government's wrongful long imprisonment of a human rights lawyer

Iran is far from being a democratic country, notwithstanding any well-deserved contempt United States of America gets for its nefarious designs on Iran.

A few ways of how the oppressive Iranian regime carries out its abuses are through its criminal confinement of human rights lawyers and through its criminal suppression of women in the country. I share below from sources on the interent an example that encompasses both.

An Iranian woman lawyer who has fought for the rights of children and women has been criminally imprisoned since September 2010. Below are two sources which provide more insight on the case.

1)  http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/free-nasrin-sotoudeh-human-rights-defender-iran/ 

Free Nasrin Sotoudeh- Human Rights Defender Iran    Nasrin Sotoudeh is a lawyer, human rights campaigner and women’s rights activist.

Nasrin has defended the rights of many activists who have been arrested, tried unfairly and jailed, including Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Nasrin has spoken publicly about the shortcomings of the Iranian legal system and is famous for defending young offenders on death row. Her activities made her a target, and she was arrested in September 2010.

In January 2011, Nasrin was sentenced to 11 years in prison. In mid-September 2011, the Appeals Court reduced her prison sentence to 6 years and a ban against practising law from 20 years to 10. The charges against her include “acts against national security”, “anti-regime propaganda” and belonging to the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.

For most of the past year, Nasrin Sotoudeh has been in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Three hunger strikes have weakened her health. She took that drastic action to protest her imprisonment, lack of trial and her conditions of detention.

Her detention affects many others. By repressing lawyers like Nasrin and by marginalizing the Iranian Bar Association, the government denies other critics of the government the right to access competent legal representation. One of her own lawyers is currently in detention, too. Nasrin’s husband, Reza Khandan, was pressured with threats and brief imprisonment to make his wife stop her activities. He remains at risk of further harassment and faces a possible trial and imprisonment. They have two children.

She belongs to several organizations including the One Million Signatures Campaign to Change Discriminatory Laws Against Women, and the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child.

Amnesty International considers Nasrin Sotoudeh to be a prisoner of conscience because she is in custody only for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association. This includes her professional work as a lawyer.

In the words of Nasrin’s husband, Reza Khandan:

“If any government can block the power of a human rights attorney, its hands are free to treat its critics and opponents in any manner it desires. Unfortunately the international community allowed the government to break this barrier.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh, as you will know, was sentenced on Sunday, 9th January 2011, to 11 years imprisonment.
Reportedly, this includes 5 years for ‘violating the Islamic dress code (Hejab)’ in a filmed acceptance speech, in which she was accepting a Human Rights Prize by the International Committee on Human Rights, in 2008. She was not permitted to leave the country, at the time, to travel to Italy to accept the award.

A further 5 years of the sentence is for ‘acting against the national security of the country’ and 1 year is for ‘propaganda against the regime’.

She has also been banned from practising law and leaving the country for 20 years. It is possible that an appeal against the sentence can be requested within 20 days.

Nasrin’s husband, Reza, was summoned to the Revolutionary Court. In a statement, he said:

“I have been asked to appear at Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court. In the written summons, the word ‘defendant’ was used when referring to me. Of course I was also summoned once about ten to twelve days before my wife was arrested and at the time I was warned about the interviews I had given.”

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says the ‘UN Human Rights Council Should Act to Address the Crisis.’ The ICHRI also says that Nasrin has ‘reportedly been tortured in prison in order to force her to confess to crimes’.

I would like to draw your attention to important legal points raised recently by renowned Human Rights Lawyer, Mehrangiz Kar, when discussing Ms Sotoudeh’s case:

“Under the concept of a fair trial, the key thing is to have access to lawyers and this is not being practiced. It is routinely being violated.
Article 168 of the Iranian constitution states:
‘All political prisoners are afforded right to a jury trial and must be public’.

When there is not a jury during the trial, that trial is not legal even under the Islamic Republic’s structure. This has been routinely violated since the 2009 elections.”

On December 10, 2011 Nasrin Sotoudeh the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran launched the “Free Sotoudeh Project,” a campaign aimed at building international support for the release of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and highlighting the tragic situation of Iranian prisoners of conscience.

2)   http://www.feministschool.com/english/spip.php?article180 

Thursday 4 December 2008 

Feministschool: Feminist school wanted to organize a ceremony in honour of Nasrin Sotoudeh, after she won the first human rights international prize 2008 in South Tizol (Italy),also we are proud of the fact that Shirin Ebadi who received an award with the Tolerance prize which the ceremony took place in Germany. Sadly the women rights activists were not given permission to proceed with the ceremony , hence we decide to dedicate special page in our site for this event as a result we have placed the speeches of some of the speakers.
about Nasrin Sotoudeh
Nasrin Sotoudeh , lawyer and women rights activist , is a well known lawyer for Iranian women ’s movement whilst its activists are in prison. Nasrin was born in 1963 in Tehran and graduated in International law in beheshti University in 1991 then she started her journalism activities with Daricheye Goftegoo ( the window of dialogue)magazine. also she has written articles for newspapers such as : Jame’eh ,Toos,Sobh e emrouz and Aban . Married in 1994 and now she has two children.
In 1995 Nasrin became an understudy and managed to acquire her Licence to practice Law within 8 years, Nasrin who has taken the cases for a lot of the activists is now awarded with the Human Rights International prize.
She is well known for her activities in human rights for children and in particular against the hanging of children under the age of 18, and women’s movement in particular Campaign of one million signatures Demanding Changes to discrimiatory Laws.
Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mansoureh Shojaee also were summoned to Revolutionary Courts , and appeared in the Revolutionary Courts. They were accused of "endangering national security by having uncommon relationships with Iranians who live overseas". In addition, they were told by "security forces representative" that " we warned you off over the phone and forbade you to go to overseas before you went to airport.
Nasrin Sotoodeh and Mansoureh Shojaee by invitation of some of Iranians women from the south of Larestan and Evaz of Iran who are currently residents in Dubai , were going to go to Dubai to take part in a celebration of 8 March when the officials banned Mansoureh Shojaee from travelling and seized her passport. However, they told Nasrin Sotoodeh that she could travel. But she avoided travelling and told them that she is representing Mansoureh Shojaee and she has to stay with her. They were questioned by security forces for 5 hours in airport.
Nasrin Sotoudeh also was arrested with 8 other activists outside of the Rahe Abrisham Gallery just prior to a small, peaceful assembly planned to commemorate June 12th, the day that has been chosen by Iranian women’s rights activists as their national day of solidarity to object harmful actions which attempt to silence Iranian women.
Some articles in English in special page in Feminist School web site about the ceremony on Nasrin Sotoudeh’s honour :
- All my Clients / Mansoureh Shojaee

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s article in English in Feminist school:

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