Iran rights lawyer Sotoudeh to face additional 10 years in jail

In this file photo taken on September 18, 2013 Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh smiles at her home in Tehran after being freed following three years in prison. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2019
0

Iran rights lawyer Sotoudeh to face additional 10 years in jail

TEHRAN: Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to an extra 10 years in jail on top of the five-year term she is already serving, her husband said Tuesday.
Sotoudeh is an award-winning rights activist who was arrested last June and told she had been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges and sentenced to five years.
The new 10-year sentence was the longest of seven different verdicts totalling 33 years bundled together in a case and communicated to Sotoudeh in prison, according to her husband Reza Khandan.
“But only the longest sentence will be served, which is ‘encouraging corruption and debauchery and providing the means’,” he told AFP by telephone.
He said Sotoudeh had also been sentenced to a total of 148 lashes for appearing in court without the hijab Islamic head covering and for another offense.
She had been found guilty of “colluding against the system, propaganda against the system... disrupting public order” and several other counts.
On Monday, a judge at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court said she had been sentenced in her latest conviction to five years for colluding against the system and two years for insulting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But Khandan said that to the best of his knowledge his wife had not been charged with insulting the leader.
The United Nations’ top expert on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said the reported conviction was “a crystal-clear illustration of an increasingly severe state response.”
“There is an increasing concern that the civil space for human rights lawyers and defenders is being reduced,” he told journalists in Geneva.
Amnesty International condemned the latest case against Sotoudeh as an “outrageous injustice” and called for her immediate and unconditional release.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh has dedicated her life to defending women’s rights and speaking out against the death penalty — it is utterly outrageous that Iran’s authorities are punishing her for her human rights work,” it said.
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 Prize 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 ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


US voices concern for Baha’i facing death from Houthis

Updated 5 min 46 sec ago
0

US voices concern for Baha’i facing death from Houthis

  • A Houthi court sentenced Hamed bin Haydara to death on “absurd” allegations
  • The United States urged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia to end the mistreatment of members of the Baha’i faith

WASHINGTON: The United States urged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia to end the mistreatment of members of the Baha’i faith, as Houthi court sentenced believer to death on “absurd” allegations.
The Baha’i community said that Hamed bin Haydara, who has been detained since 2013, will face an appeal hearing on Tuesday in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa.
The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” that the Houthis have targeted dozens of Baha’is and voiced alarm over accounts that Haydara has endured “physical and psychological torture.”
“This persistent pattern of vilification, oppression and mistreatment by the Houthis of Baha’is in Yemen must end,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

READ: Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi: A wolf in sheep’s clothes

The Baha’i community on Thursday released what it said was the response to Haydara’s appeal, with the prosecutor accusing the faith of being founded on “satanic thought.”
It said that Haydara has also been accused of seeking to create a separate Baha’i homeland on the Yemeni island of Socotra.
“The prosecutor’s arguments do not address the merits of Mr. Haydara’s appeal and instead make absurd, wide-ranging accusations that are not based in law or in fact,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
He charged that the prosecutor was following the tactics of Iran’s clerical regime, which allows freedom of religion to several minorities but targets the Bahai’s, whose founder the Baha’u’llah was Iranian born in 1817.
The Baha’i faith calls for unity among religions and equality between men and women.
Baha’is consider the Baha’u’llah to be a prophet.