Thursday, April 17, 2014


Iran

Is Iran Afraid Of A 12-Year-Old Girl?

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent lawyer who defended political activists, opposition members, and juvenile offenders on death row, has been in jail since September 2010.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent lawyer who defended political activists, opposition members, and juvenile offenders on death row, has been in jail since September 2010.
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By Golnaz Esfandiari
A court in Tehran has banned the 12-year-old daughter of jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh from leaving Iran.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, who was also banned from traveling abroad, tells RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the court did not provide any reason for its decision. It can be appealed within 20 days.

Khandan argues that even if his daughter, Mehraveh, has committed a crime, she should have been summoned to a court for minors.

He describes the ruling as "unexpected," especially since he and his daughter were not planning to travel outside the Islamic republic.

"During the week I spend three of four days going to the prison and to different judicial authorities to follow up on the case of my wife," Khandan says.

"Once a week we visit her at the prison, so we really don't even have time for a longer trip inside the country, let alone traveling outside the country. Also, as long my wife is here, we don't have any [reason] to travel outside Iran."

A 'Judicial Disaster'

Iran has a long track record of preventing political activists from foreign travel and of official harassment directing at the relatives of political prisoners, rights activists, and members of the media.

The travel ban for Sotoudeh's daughter, however, marks the first time that the Islamic republic has targeted a minor child of a prisoner of conscience, according to Hadi Ghaemi of the U.S.-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Ghaemi, whose organization was the first to post the court order regarding Sotoudeh's daughter, says the measure is clearly meant to increase pressure on the jailed lawyer.

"In my view, this means that those in the security bodies who are determined to bring Sotoudeh to her knees are now targeting her daughter," Ghaemi says, describing the court ruling as a "judicial disaster."

'Fearless' Fighter For Rights

Sotoudeh, a prominent lawyer who defended political activists, opposition members, and juvenile offenders on death row, has been in jail since September 2010.

She was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from working as a lawyer for 10 years on charges that include acting against Iran's national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime.

Sotoudeh had originally been sentenced to 10 years in prison and to a 20-year ban on working as a lawyer before an appeal court reduced her sentence.

Even in prison, the 47-year-old mother of two has remained defiant by going repeatedly on hunger strike to protest her detention and alleged ill-treatment.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, a close colleague of Sotoudeh who has been campaigning for her release, wrote in a 2011 commentary in the British newspaper "The Guardian" that the Iranian government is afraid of Sotoudeh for "shining a light on the deplorable human rights situation in Iran."

"Nasrin is fearless in taking on cases that other lawyers carefully avoid, and for that she has earned respect around the globe," wrote Ebadi, who was also previously represented by Sotoudeh in court.

Before her arrest, Sotoudeh told RFE/RL that Iranian authorities are seeking to make it impossible for her and other human rights lawyers to take up sensitive political and human rights cases.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda broadcaster Hossein Ghavimi contributed to this report
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Comments
     
by: Frank from: London
July 13, 2012 04:40
It is clear the regime is intent on breaking Mrs Sotoudeh with such repulsive actions. Mrs Sotoudeh (and her daughter) should be given the right to claim compensation out of frozen Iranian Government assets in the West. Sir John Sawyer's reasons for commenting that Iran will have nuclear bomb in 18 months' time (2014) (in today's Daily Telegraph) are hard to fathom, but Iran regime change must be the only rational objective of the West now to avoid a cold war and a Middle East nuclear arms race. I trust the urgency of the need for regime change will limit Mrs Sotoudeh's unjust detention.
In Response

by: Sey from: World
July 13, 2012 16:07
And excuse me who are you to say Iran needs a regime change? Who is the West to decide if Iran needs a regime change? If Iranians want a regime change, let them do it themselves.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
July 14, 2012 07:08
I have an underperforming investment in Iran - that is who I am.
In Response

by: Lauren from: Earth
July 14, 2012 18:11
I'd say a country needs a regime change, when they're trying to pass a law that would make it legal to marry 10 year old girls
In Response

by: Cristina from: Argentina
July 14, 2012 21:15
People of Iran tried to change regime and they were brutally repressed.
In Response

by: Sey from: World
July 17, 2012 02:03
The people of Syria are fighting for a regime change, and they are being brutally repressed. But they keep on fighting.

Nevertheless, neither I nor you, nor anyone has the power to decide what's better for a country but the people who actually live in there. Our perceptions of Iranian reality come as foreigners, as much as our perceptions of any country where we are not natives.

Let Iranians handle it themselves. I think they have a clearer view of the situation than London-dwellers or Argentinians.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 18, 2012 07:57
"I think they [Iranians] have a clearer view of the situation than London-dwellers or Argentinians."

You are so right. Iranians who can't afford to buy chicken (because of the 3 fold rise in its price due to the sanctions - via the shortages of imported chicken feed and via the currency devaluation) undoubtedly benefit from a much more powerful kinaesthetic learning experience than Londoners who have to imagine what it is like to have to go without chicken.

by: Alex from: LA
July 15, 2012 22:36
I agree with Sey on this and on any country in similar situation. Also, would like to comment on this "Middle East nuclear arms race" has been started when US gave Israel, illegally, nuclear weapons, about 12-15 warheads. If we really want to see the MIddle east without nukes, remove them from Israels hands, then you can push on the rest of them that there is no way that any other country will even think about making nukes. Also, how do we know that Israel is not making nukes, would US treat Israel the same way it does Iran, I don't think so they don't have that much oil/gas.

by: Fritz from: Austria
July 16, 2012 17:33
Western media is sooo biased about Iran, that I recommend all readers to triple check the news about Iran on this US financed propoganda outlet. Remember how Reuters claimed a year ago that Iranian women training Ninjitsu sport were so called state sponsored "assasins."

by: free man from: london
July 16, 2012 21:14
We need regime change in the UK & USA so that we can have new governments that don't plan on invading other nations and killing millions of innocents in pursuit of oil and gas. Iran is not perfect but we have political prisoners and state sponsored assassinations in the west on a regular basis. Iran dares to be free of zionist control and refuses to be a puppet of the west. They have no desire in giving away their natural resources like the gulf Arab states have done. They refusie to be a tyrannical regime like Saudi Arabia or Qatar etc, which are israeli/USA puppets.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
July 18, 2012 07:35
"invading other nations and killing millions in pursuit of oil and gas".
I presume you mean benefiting from taking a share in the "economic rent" associated with Iran's oil fields (the surplus over that strictly required to bring the oilfields into production). Iran uses buy-back agreements to stop investors profiting from oil price changes. I don't see how an invasion can make a commercially astute population return to selling their oil below market price on the terms that Anglo Persian Oil (now called BP) used to buy it at in 1920s. How would the invading killers of millions of Iranians persuade them to return to those sort of commercial terms? It might be better not to kill them and to pay them the market rate and to try to persuade them to buy our goods? Selling is always difficult, but when you have done a lot of killing it must be even harder (the more customers you have the better?). The stingy terms the Iranians have paid to oil investors since the revolution may have something to do with why their oil production has more than halved.

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