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

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.


Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters clash in central Beirut

Updated 14 December 2019

Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters clash in central Beirut

  • Teargas and rubber bullets fired at the protestors
  • Riot police put out calls through loudspeakers for people not to gather

BEIRUT: Clashes broke out on Saturday between Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters in downtown Beirut, some of whom tried to break into a barricaded central district of Lebanon's capital.

Teargas and rubber bullets were fired at the protestors, and the Lebanese Red Cross said several members of the security forces had to be taken to hospital with injuries.

A heavy security presence was put in place central Beirut after the Hezbollah supporters tried to advance to the city’s main central Martyr’s square, and riot police put out calls through loudspeakers for people in he Al-Khandaq Al-Ghamiq area of central Beirut not to gather.

Hundreds of people were gathered as part of a wave of protests that have swept Lebanon since Oct. 17, furious at a ruling elite that steered the country towards its worst economic crisis in decades.

Since the protests pushed Saad Al-Hariri to resign as prime minister in late October, talks between the main parties have been deadlocked over forming a new cabinet.

Lebanon urgently needs a new government to pull it out of the crisis which has also shaken confidence in its banking system. Foreign donors say they will only help after the country gets a cabinet that can enact reforms.

State news agency NNA said the tear gas had made several people faint, while the Lebanese Red Cross said 14 people were injured, six of them badly enough to need taking to hospital.

The unrest erupted from a build-up of anger at the rising cost of living, new tax plans and the record of leaders dominating the country since the 1975-90 civil war. Protesters accuse the political class of milking the state for their own benefit through networks of patronage.