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.


Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

Updated 32 min 42 sec ago

Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

  • Gantz said he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank
  • Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on the plan

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank, a plan that could stoke Palestinian violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.
Gantz's directive appeared to indicate that the centrist politician had either signed on to the move, or at least believed it would be inevitable, given right-wing support in the Netanyahu-led coalition cabinet.
In public remarks to legislators of his centrist Blue and White party, Gantz noted a recent uptick in anti-Israeli violence in the West Bank and the Palestinians' declaration last month that they were ending security cooperation with Israel over the annexation issue.
He said he had subsequently ordered the chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, to "examine all the ramifications and the required preparations" stemming from moving ahead with the peace plan US President Donald Trump announced in January, a blueprint that could ease annexation.
In a separate written statement, Gantz said "preparations by the Israel Defence Forces should be stepped up ahead of pending diplomatic moves regarding the Palestinians".
The Palestinians have rejected Trump's proposal, under which the vast majority of West Bank settlements built by Israel on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war would be incorporated into "contiguous Israeli territory".
The Palestinians and most countries consider such settlements illegal. Israel disputes this.
The Trump plan also envisages a Palestinian state under near-complete Israeli security control, creating what Palestinians leaders say would be an unviable country.
Sami Abu Zuhri, an official with militant group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, another part of Palestinians' hoped-for future state, told Reuters: "The call of the occupation army to get ready for annexation of the West Bank is a call for war, and the occupation will regret this crime, and soon realise they are committing a grave mistake."