Iran’s noted rights lawyer Sotoudeh arrested, says husband

Iran's award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on June 13, 2018, her husband said in a Facebook post saying that she was transferred to the capital's notorious Evin prison where many political prisoners are held. (AFP / Behrouz Mehri)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Iran’s noted rights lawyer Sotoudeh arrested, says husband

  • Sotoudeh, 55, one of the few outspoken advocates for human rights in Iran, recently represented several women arrested for protesting against the mandatory wearing of headscarves.
  • Sotoudeh has also defended journalists and activists including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and several dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009.

TEHRAN: Iran’s award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on Wednesday, her husband said in a Facebook post.

“A few hours ago Nasrin was arrested at home and transferred to Evin,” Tehran’s notorious prison where many political prisoners are held, her husband Reza Khandan wrote.

Sotoudeh, 55, one of the few outspoken advocates for human rights in Iran, recently represented several women arrested for protesting against the mandatory wearing of headscarves. Tehran police said in February that 29 women had been detained for posing in public without their headscarves in the previous weeks.

Khandan’s Facebook message was defiant, saying: “I once told interrogators in the interrogating room: ‘Of all the things the authorities should do for their country, you only know one and that is arresting people’.”

Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile rights and political cases, including juveniles facing the death penalty in the Islamic republic.

She spent three years in prison between 2010 and 2013 for “actions against national security” and spreading “propaganda against the regime” and remains banned from representing political cases or leaving Iran until 2022.

Sotoudeh has defended journalists and activists including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and several dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009. During her time in jail, she staged two hunger strikes in protest at the conditions in Evin and over a ban on seeing her son and daughter.

Sotoudeh was released in September 2013 shortly before Iran’s then newly elected President Hassan Rouhani, who had campaigned on a pledge to improve civil rights, attended the UN General Assembly.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 53 min 19 sec ago
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.