Iran rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh sentenced to 7 years in jail

Nasrin Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases. (AP)
Updated 11 March 2019
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Iran rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh sentenced to 7 years in jail

  • Nasrin Sotoudeh is an award-winning rights activist who was arrested last June
  • The new verdict was given in absentia, without specifying when it was handed down

TEHRAN: Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to seven years in jail for security charges, a judge at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court told semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to five years for colluding against the system and two years for insulting the leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei),” said judge Mohammad Moghiseh.
“The case has now gone to the appeal court,” said Moghiseh, who heads branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court.
Sotoudeh is an award-winning rights activist who was arrested last June and told she had already been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges and sentenced to six years by the court.
One of her lawyers, Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad, said on Sunday that the new verdict was also given in absentia, without specifying when it was handed down.
“Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court held a hearing which my client did not attend and ... the court sentenced her in absentia,” state news agency IRNA quoted Behzadi-Rad as saying.
By late Sunday the verdict had not been communicated to Sotoudeh, he added.
Before her arrest, Sotoudeh, 55, had taken on the cases of several women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest at the mandatory dress code in force in Iran.
Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors.
She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of the ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Her husband Reza Khandan was sentenced to six years in jail, also for security related charges, his lawyer Mohammad Moghimi said in January.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.