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Iran human rights lawyer arrested

Her husband, Reza Khandan, said that Nasrin had been informed that she was to serve a five-year prison sentence. Neither Nasrin nor Reza knew anything about this supposed sentence.

Nasrin has been an outspoken critic with regards to the Iranian regime’s strict and extreme laws and she had represented several high-profile Iranian protestors. One such client was Narges Hosseini who was arrested after peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling for women.

She had also challenged the recent change to Iranian law that prevents the accused from being represented by a lawyer of their choosing following arrest on charges of threatening “national security”.

Nasrin received the Sakharov prize in 2012, the highest reward for human rights. She bravely continued her work after being harassed by the clerical regime.

Two years previous to this, the Iranian regime prosecuted her for “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She was handed a six-year prison sentence.

Simon Tisdall from the Guardian wrote that the Iranian regime’s oppression is a result of US President Donald Trump’s action towards Iran. He said that Trump “argued his action would force Iran to change its behaviour for the better”, but what it has actually done is forced conservative hardliners into “expanding their grip on Iranian society”.

It is this type of rhetoric that holds others accountable for the Iranian regime’s inexcusable actions that exacerbates the problem. Trump could be blamed for many things, but how can anyone hold him responsible for the actions of a corrupt and torturous regime that has been acting in the same way for decades?

This is the problem – the Iranian regime has never been held accountable for its belligerence and its abuse of human rights. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main opposition to the Iranian regime, has been calling on human rights organisations and leaders to end the regime’s impunity.

On 30th June, it will hold its annual gathering in Paris. It will once again highlight the cruel, brutal and corrupt regime’s behaviour.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a brave woman that deserves recognition for her wonderful and courageous work that she carries out despite the huge personal risk to her. She is like millions of others in Iran who refuse to remain silent when faced with the oppression imposed on them.

Many people in Iran risk arrest, torture, imprisonment and even execution to defend their rights that are systematically quashed by the regime. Those that make excuses for the regime, or indeed remain silent, are enabling its behaviour and emboldening it. The oppression will not stop for as long as the regime is in power because it knows that its biggest threat is the people of Iran and their resistance.

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