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Iranian Rights Activist Reza Khandan Gets Six-Year Prison Sentence


Rez Khandan with his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, in Tehran in 2013

Iranian activist Reza Khandan, the husband of a jailed prominent human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to six years in prison, his lawyer and local media say.

Khandan has been sentenced to five years in jail for conspiring against national security and one year for propaganda against the system, the lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, said on January 23.

He has also been “banned for two years from leaving the country, any activity in social media or newspapers, and membership in political groups," Moghimi told the AFP news agency.

The sentence was handed down by the Tehran Revolutionary Court, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Khandan has said that the charges against him were political.

Moghimi said he will appeal the verdict.

Khandan had been a vocal campaigner for the release of his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, until he was arrested in September after complaining on Facebook about human rights violations in Iran, including the imprisonment of rights defenders and the prosecution of women who have campaigned against the requirement to wear the Islamic hijab. He was released on bail last month.

Sotoudeh, 55, was arrested in June 2018 and ordered to serve a five-year sentence imposed on her in absentia in September 2016 for allegedly carrying out "activities against national security in collaboration with domestic and foreign antirevolutionary elements," according to Human Rights Watch.

International rights groups and the U.S. government have denounced the arrest of the lawyer, who in 2018 represented several women detained for publicly protesting the compulsory hijab.

Sotoudeh -- the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought -- has denied all charges against her.

An outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment, Sotoudeh previously spent several years in prison on security charges, including acting against Iran's national security. She has defended journalists, rights activists, and juveniles.

With reporting by AFP and dpa
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