Posts Tagged ‘Shirin Ebadi’

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah sentenced to nine years in jail: Iran does it again!

May 3, 2012

And the virtual ink on my previous post is hardly dry and I come across the case of Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, just but not justly sentenced to 9 year prison. Iran can hardly be surprised that it leads the table of HRDS honored in the context of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

A prominent lawyer who worked on the case of a Christian pastor on death row in Iran for apostasy, which made headlines around the world, Dadkhah has been sentenced to nine years in jail. “I have been convicted of acting against the national security, spreading propaganda against the regime and keeping banned books at home,” he said. Iranian authorities have used such vague charges in recent years to incriminate activists and lawyers in recent years. He had also been banned from teaching at universities or practicing law for an extra 10 years.

Dadkhah has represented several political and human rights activists jailed in the aftermath of the country’s 2009 disputed elections. He has also been the lawyer of the 32-year-old Yusuf Naderkhani, whose sentencing to death for apostasy triggered an international outcry.

Other prominent Iranian lawyers have also been sentenced to lengthy prison terms such as Abdolfattah SoltaniNasrin Sotoudeh and recently Narges Mohammadi. Like them, Dadkhah worked for the DHRC of Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi who fled the country in 2009.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) on Thursday condemned the sentencing of Dadkhah as well as the systematic harassment by the state against the DHRC members.

“We fear that the harassment against DHRC and attempts to silence its members will continue exponentially”, says Souhayr Belhassen, the FIDH President.

“The authorities in Iran are doing their utmost to stifle human rights defenders by imposing heavy sentences of imprisonment, exile, and ban on professional practice. All this is aimed at intimidating the whole society into a deadly silence”, adds secretary general of the OMCT, Gerald Staberock.

Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah sentenced to nine years in jail | World news |

Iran continues its persecution of Human Rights Defenders: Narges Mohammadi detained

May 3, 2012

Prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was arrested last month. On Wednesday 26 April Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris said the group “strongly condemns” her jailing. Narges Mohammadi was a spokeswoman for Ebadi’s now-banned Center for Human Rights Defenders.

She was reportedly detained on Saturday 21 April and brought to Tehran’s Evin prison to begin serving a six-year sentence following a conviction in 2010 after she was accused of anti-government crimes. Mohammadi had remained free pending appeals. Ebadi left Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which touched off unprecedented protests and harsh crackdowns by authorities. Several of her co-workers have been arrested and harassed, such as Nasrin Sotoudeh, recently announced as a 2012 nominee of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (

For more details on her case see:

Reporters Without Borders is concerned by the case because Narges is a journalist and author. In its recently released report on press freedom in 2011, the organisation ranks Iran number 175 outr of 179 countries surveyed. I states inter alia: “It is no surprise that the same trio of countries, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea, absolute dictatorships that permit no civil liberties, again occupy the last three places in the index. This year, they are immediately preceded at the bottom by Syria, Iran and China, three countries that seem to have lost contact with reality as they have been sucked into an insane spiral of terror, and by Bahrain and Vietnam, quintessential oppressive regimes. Other countries such as Uganda and Belarus have also become much more repressive.”

For the full report go to:,1043.html

Breaking news: Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!  One of the 3 nominees is Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights lawyer and a member of the now closed Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC); she was imprisoned for “spreading propaganda against the State”, “collusion and gathering with the aim of acting against national security” and “membership in an illegal organisation”. She worked for Shirin Ebadi‘s law firm, and represented imprisoned opposition activists following the June 2009 presidential elections. In this regard, she represented Shirin Ebadi after she left Iran and her assets were confiscated. On September 4, 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested, and later sentenced to 6-year of prison and a 10-year ban on practising as lawyer. She remains detained in Evin prison and on several occasions subjected to solitary confinement. Unlike fur common criminals her family visits and furlongs are limited. Despite real danger for her security and liberty, Nasrin Sotoudeh has relentlessly defended those most vulnerable. As started by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi “Ms. Sotoudeh is one of the last remaining courageous human rights lawyers who has accepted all risks for defending the victims of human rights violations in Iran”. After Akbar Ganji (2006) and Baghi (2009) this is the third human rights defender from Iran chosen by the Jury in the last seven years. The Government will surely portray this as a bias, but the rest of the world will understand that Iran is one of the worst when it comes to respect HRDs.

Iran again: HRD Narges Mohammadi gets 11 years prison sentence

September 30, 2011

Narges Mohammadi, who became ill after being detained by security officials, was convicted by a court in Tehran to 11 years in jail. Narges Mohammadi, 39, the deputy head of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), a rights organisation presided over by the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was picked up last year by security officials who raided her house without a warrant for her arrest. She was taken to Tehran’s Evin prison where she was kept in solitary confinement but was released after a month and taken to hospital. It emerged on Tuesday that a court in Tehran has now convicted her on three charges: acting against the national security, membership of the DHRC and propaganda against the regime.

“I’m not involved in politics, I’m only a human rights activist,” Mohammadi said by phone from Tehran. “I was informed of the 11-year sentence through my lawyers, who were given an unprecedented 23-page judgment issued by the court in which they repeatedly likened my human rights activities to attempts to topple the regime.” In March the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a US-based non-governmental organisation, reported that security forces had stolen Mohammadi’s medical records from the hospital. Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, a political activist, has spent a third of his life in jail.

Amnesty International reacted with outrage to Mohammadi’s conviction. “The verdict claims that Narges Mohammadi is a liar and has tarnished the image of Iran,” said Drewery Dyke, Amnesty’s researcher on Iran. “However, this latest verdict regrettably does exactly that by showing what Iran’s judiciary thinks of the government’s so-called commitment to uphold human rights in the country, and indeed exactly how it deals with those advocating international human rights standards.”

for more info see inter alia:

Amnesty International’s big meeting started Sunday 14 August

August 16, 2011

On Sunday 14 August Amnesty International started its big meeting (ICM) in Noordwijkerhout in the Netherlands. AI is ‘celebrating’ its 50th anniversary and the list of interveners on the first day illustrates the continued importance of this unique, large, membership-based human rights movement. In addition to the new Secretarty-General Salil Shetty, there were messages from Aung San Suu Kyi (by video), Shirin Ebadi, and Kasha Nabagesera, the 2011 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award. For a short video summary of the first day go to:

Norway bravely criticizes Iran for persecution of human rights defenders

July 19, 2011




On 13 July 2011 the State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gry Larsen, commented in very clear terms on the situation in Iran, saying inter alia: “Iran’s groundless persecution of people connected to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s Defenders of Human Rights Center give cause for serious concern.”

A number of Iranian lawyers have recently been given, or can expect to be given, severe prison sentences. Two of the founders of the Human Rights Centre set up by Shirin Ebadi, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and Mohammad Seifzadeh, have been sentenced to nine and two years’ imprisonment respectively. Another prominent lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is still waiting for his case to be tried more than two years after he was arrested, and Shirin Ebadi’s own lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment earlier this year.

“The legal proceedings against these lawyers seem to have focused solely on their work to promote and defend human rights in Iran. They are in violation of both national and international principles of the rule of law. For example, the defendants were denied proper legal assistance,” said Ms Larsen.

The Iranian authorities have systematically persecuted people connected to the Defenders of Human Rights Center and confiscated property and materials relating to their work over a period of time in an attempt to stop the centre’s activities.

“Norway urges Iran to fulfil its obligations under international human rights conventions. We particularly urge Iran to stop its campaign against the Defenders of Human Rights Center and to safeguard the rights of people who are themselves working diligently to promote the rule of law in the country,” said Ms Larsen.

Groundless prison sentences for human rights defenders in Iran.