Iran: Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh sentenced to jail in absentia


Iran has sentenced in absentia award-winning women's rights activist Shadi Sadr and another fellow activist to jail and lashes over a protest in 2007, their lawyer told ILNA news agency on Sunday. Former MP Mohsen Armin, who is a senior member of a reformist party which backs opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, was also arrested in Tehran on Sunday, his daughter told a reformist website. The revolutionary court "has sentenced Shadi Sadr, 35, to six years in jail and 74 lashes for acting against national security and harming public order," lawyer Mohammad Mostafai said. Update on Iran: Last two women human rights defenders released from prison on heavy bail

The other activist, Mahbubeh Abbas-Gholizadeh, was also handed a term of two-and-a-half years in jail and 30 lashes for similar charges, he said, adding that he has 20 days to appeal the "heavy sentences."

The court had tried the pair, both currently abroad, on May 8 over a rally in March 2007 outside a revolutionary court where four fellow feminists were on trial. Iranian authorities arrested them along with 30 other protesters.

Sadr, who is also a lawyer and journalist, was awarded the Polish Lech Walesa Prize in September 2009 along with two other Iranian women for promotion of "human rights, freedom of expression and democracy in Iran."

Both women, who also back the anti-government opposition, are well-known for their campaigning to abolish the stoning to death penalty for adulterers and for writings against Iran's Sharia-based law deemed as discriminatory to women.

Iran's hardline authorities have grown increasingly suspicious of human rights activists and scores have been jailed, especially after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June.

The authorities have also rounded up scores of reformist politicians, opposition campaign workers and journalists after the poll, accusing them of inciting mass anti-government protests which engulfed the capital last year.

"This morning agents who appeared to have a judiciary warrant searched the house and took my father away," Armin's daughter, who was not named, told, website of the minority faction of reformist MPs.

Armin is a senior member of the Organisation of Mujahedeen of the Islamic Revolution, which was banned by the hardline authorities.