News / Middle East

Rights Group Harshly Criticizes Sentence Handed to Iranian Lawyer

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Hadi Ghaemi, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

The husband of a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer says she has been sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges that include security offenses and spreading propaganda against the country's rulers. Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in September and spent more than three months in solitary confinement in Tehran. She is believed to be one of the first attorneys jailed from the group that represented activists and political figures rounded up in 2009 during unrest that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. Her husband, Reza Khandan, said he learned from Sotoudeh's lawyers she had been convicted and banned from working as a lawyer for 20 years.

The New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is among the groups that have spoken out against the sentencing. VOA’s Susan Yackee spoke with the organizations Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

Hadi Ghaemi believes the international community is focusing on Iran's nuclear ambitions at the expense of human rights abuses in the country
Hadi Ghaemi believes the international community is focusing on Iran's nuclear ambitions at the expense of human rights abuses in the country

Calling her one of the most prominent and brave lawyers of the post-election era in Iran, Ghaemi says that Nasrin Sotoudeh was also among the most outspoken lawyers who provided the outside world with a rare view into the Iranian judiciary. He calls the sentence handed down to her “draconian” and an attack on all human rights defenders and lawyers in Iran.

Listen to the full interview with Hadi Ghaemi:

According to Ghaemi, the sentence also demonstrates that the security and intelligence services have taken over the judiciary in Iran. He points out that even her interrogators repeatedly told her that they will not allow the judge in her case to issue a sentence shorter than ten years, regardless of what evidence would be brought against her.

The arbitrary nature of Sotoudeh’s sentence is self-evident, says Ghaemi.

“Especially, the five years given to her for not wearing a headscarf during a video-taped message is an indication of that. There is no justification for that, and also the charge of propaganda against the state and acting against national security stem from interviews and transparent activities she had done in the public domain in defense of her clients.”

Ghaemi says that as a lawyer Sotoudeh was working completely within the framework of existing law when she was trying to defend her clients.

With Sotoudeh’s case being as emblematic as it is, Ghaemi believes that it provides the UN and those players within the international community who are engaged with Iran on multiple fronts with an opportunity to put human rights abuses back into the forefront of negotiations with Tehran. Ghaemi feels that, unfortunately, rights issues have lately been overshadowed by the international focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid