Iranian state TV broadcast a statement last night by the woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, in which she described herself as a "sinner". Appearing on TV for the third time since her case caught the world's attention, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, also accused Mina Ahadi, an activist of the German-based International Committee Against Stoning (Icas), of spreading her story around the world. The report also broadcast purported statements by two men whose faces were blurred. State TV identified them as Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Qaderzadeh, 22, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, both of whom were arrested last month.
Iranian authorities arrested another three lawyers yesterday as they returned to Iran from Turkey. Sara Sabbaghian, Maryam Kianersi and Maryam Karbasi were arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport on unspecified charges, Majzoban-e Noor website reported.
Sabbaghian is said to be involved in the defence of detained Iranian blogger, Hossein Ronaghi and Kinaersi was on the defence team of Kobra Najjar who was saved from a death by stoning sentence two years ago.
The Violence is Not our Culture Campaign (VNC) and Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are deeply concerned over the continued denial of human rights in Iran in light of the Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani case. Lack of due process and the right to a fair trial, arbitrary detention, torture, and restrictions of freedom of information, of the press, and of association sadly constitute the status quo in the Islamic Republic.
The Katharine & George Alexander Law Prize brings recognition to lawyers who have used their legal careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity. The 2010 Award winner is Shadi Sadr, Iranian Human Rights and Women's Rights lawyer, and WLUML Council Member. The Committee selected Shadi Sadr because of her ceaseless dedication to championing the cause of Iranian women and risking her freedom to defend those who are wrongfully accused and imprisoned. Below is the text of Sadr's acceptance speech at Santa Clara University in California on 11 November.
Iran failed Wednesday to secure a seat on the board running the new UN super agency for women in the face of a fierce diplomatic onslaught against its rights record. Saudi Arabia, criticised for refusing even to let women drive, got an automatic seat and rights groups said they will now seek to put the spotlight on the Islamic kingdom's record. Four UN agencies were merged this year to set up UN Women, with a 500-million-dollar budget per year, under the leadership of former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.
Iranian human rights activists are calling on the international community not to ignore human rights violations in Iran during their planned talkslater this week. Iran has agreed to 5+1 talks (UN permanent members and Germany) as proposed by the European Union's high representative on foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton. Of "utmost urgency" is the case of the Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotudeh, who has been on hunger strike in the notorious Evin prison since 28 September. Her husband says her condition is deteriorating and she has lost a lot of weight. Although Sotudeh briefly broke her hunger strike in October she has been refusing food again. For over a week she has also refused water.
With the increasing pressures the maneuvering room for human rights defenders and human rights lawyers is becoming greatly constrained. Vivid examples of these pressures include some of the following: the closure and prevention of the activities of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, the repeal of accreditation of lawyers to practice law, the arrest of human rights defenders and lawyers.
As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the U.N. General Assembly in New York last month, the spotlight was once again on Iran. And true to form, the Iranian president made his fair share of provocative statements for the Western media. But while Ahmadinejad's mercurial rants captured our media's attention, back in Iran a coordinated strategy against the women's movement continued. On the eve of Ahmadinejad's arrival to New York, Shiva Nazar Ahari, a prominent young female defender of human rights, received a heavy sentence of six years in prison on charges including the vague crime of "waging war against God" -- a convenient catch-all offense for anyone who criticizes the regime and its human rights record.
Following publication of news about Nasrin Sotoudeh’s hunger strike in prison and her interrogations under duress, Shirin Ebadi, head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she is appealing to the world to object to the Sotoudeh’s arrest in order to help her. Ebadi also said she is deeply concerned about Sotoudeh’s health conditions.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist, writes Christiane Amanpour, the broadcast journalist of America's ABC News who interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week. Originally in Rah-e-Sabz and translated by Hasty Pezhman: