Human Rights Commissioner condemns sentencing of Iranian human rights activists

10.01.2011 - Press release

After a Tehran court sentenced the two Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari to, respectively, eleven and four years in jail, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (10 January):

“I was appalled to hear of the shocking sentences passed against Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari. These sentences are the tip of the iceberg in a systematic campaign against defenders of human rights in Iran which has been going on for several months. They are based on artificially constructed accusations and represent gross injustice. I call on the Iranian judiciary to release Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari immediately and to honour the international commitments Iran has made to protect the civil and political rights of the Iranian people.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a well-known Iranian human rights lawyer. Those she has defended include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Nasrin Sotoudeh has on several occasions spoken publicly about deficiencies in Iran’s respect for the rule of law and inadequacies in its justice system. She was arrested on 4 September 2010. According to her husband, she has been found guilty of, among other things, “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the country’s leaders”.

Shiva Nazar Ahari is a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, an Iranian human rights organization. She was arrested on 20 December 2009 and released on bail on 12 September 2010. Her lawyer has announced that the charges against her included “enmity against God” and “propaganda against the government”. Shiva Nazar Ahari has been sentenced to four years in prison and 74 lashes.

Iran has signed and ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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