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

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.


Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

Updated 7 min 56 sec ago

Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

  • The breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles
  • A recent agreement between Turkey and Libya claims extensive areas of sea for Turkey in the Mediterranean

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus: A Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus on Monday amid growing tensions over Turkey’s deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles.
It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The agreement claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey, undercutting claims by Greece and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which runs the southern part of the island.
Analysts say Turkey was pushing back against rival efforts to claim exploration rights in the area after Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel excluded Turkey from a new “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” that also includes Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey, said approval for the drone was given last week “in light of the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean region” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the TRNC and Turkey.”
The TRNC’s transport minister, Tolga Atakan, said Turkish drones were partly a response to the acquisition of Israeli drones by Cyprus in October to monitor its exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.
Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and says the TRNC has the right to explore around the entire island.