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.


Israeli Cabinet postpones vote on West Bank annexation

Updated 14 min 33 sec ago

Israeli Cabinet postpones vote on West Bank annexation

  • A Cabinet vote on annexing territories on Sunday was not technically feasible because of various preparations
  • Hard-line Israeli nationalists have called for the immediate annexation of West Bank settlements

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli minister said on Wednesday that a Cabinet vote to endorse annexation of parts of the West Bank will not take place early next week, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge a day earlier to act quickly after the US released a peace plan rejected by the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said he would ask the Cabinet to advance the extension of Israeli sovereignty over most Jewish settlements and the strategic Jordan Valley, a move that would likely spark international outrage and complicate the White House’s efforts to build support for the plan.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told Israel Radio that a Cabinet vote on annexing territories on Sunday was not technically feasible because of various preparations, including “bringing the proposal before the attorney general and letting him consider the matter.”
Hard-line Israeli nationalists have called for the immediate annexation of West Bank settlements ahead of the country’s third parliamentary elections in under a year, scheduled for March 2.
They have eagerly embraced the part of President Donald Trump’s peace plan that would allow Israel to annex territory but have rejected its call for a Palestinian state in parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinians angrily rejected the Trump plan which largely adopts the Israeli position on all the thorniest issues of the decades-old conflict, from borders and the status of Jerusalem to security measures and the fate of Palestinian refugees.
Levin, a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said the Palestinian state envisioned by the Trump peace plan is “roughly the same Palestinian Authority that exists today, with authority to manage civil affairs,” but lacking “substantive powers” like border control or a military.
Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, has warned against any Israeli “annexation of Palestinian lands,” reaffirming its commitment to an independent Palestinian state formed on the basis of the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinians seek the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, as part of a future independent state. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal under international law.
Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted Wednesday that “that which is postponed to after the elections will never happen.”
“If we postpone or reduce the extension of sovereignty (in the West Bank), then the opportunity of the century will turn into the loss of the century,” said Bennett, a hawkish Netanyahu ally with the New Right party.
Nahum Barnea, a veteran Israeli columnist, stridently criticized the Trump plan in Wednesday’s Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth, saying it would create a Palestinian state “more meager than Andorra, more fractured than the Virgin Islands.”
He cautioned that annexation would lead to “a reality of two legal systems for two populations in the same territory — one ruling, the second occupied. In other words, an Apartheid state.”