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Iran urged to drop prison sentences against human rights activists

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 13, 2011

Amnesty International has denounced the prison sentences imposed on two leading Iranian human rights defenders and urged the authorities to drop all charges against them.

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been jailed for 11 years on charges of “acts against national security”, “anti-regime propaganda” and belonging to the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.

The charges relate to her human rights work after the country’s disputed 2009 presidential elections. It appears that Sotoudeh may not yet have been told the verdict and sentence imposed on her.

Journalist Shiva Nazar Ahari had her four-year prison sentence imposed for “acts against national security” and other charges, confirmed by an appeal court on Sunday. She may also face flogging; it remains unclear whether this part of her original sentence, subsequently converted to a cash fine, has been reinstated.

“The sentences imposed on Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari are outrageous and make a mockery of justice,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Both women have been sentenced on account of their courageous defence of human rights and the very standards and values which the Iranian government is bound by international treaties to uphold,” said Malcolm Smart. “It is truly a sorry state of affairs when such actions can be branded a threat to national security or the peddling of propaganda.”

“Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally. Shiva Nazar Ahari should not be made to serve her sentence – it should be immediately withdrawn.”

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