International Law

ABA Prez Condemns 'Unfair' Trial of Iranian Civil Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 11 Years

Sentenced to 11 years in prison and barred from practicing law or leaving the country for 20 years, an Iranian civil rights attorney known for her representation of women and children is being punished for expressing her views to the media, some supporters say.

Convicted of “activities against national security” and “propaganda against the regime,” Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in September and spent most of her time since then in solitary confinement, reports the New York Times (reg. req.).

In a written statement today, American Bar Association President Stephen N. Zack joined with critics including the U.S. Department of State and a fellow civil rights attorney and Nobel Peace laureate in condemning what he called an unfair trial.

“The ABA calls upon the Iranian government to fulfill its human rights obligations under international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party,” he says. “Iran also should observe both the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to ensure that Iranian lawyers can work ‘without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.’

“Further,” Zack continues, “Iran should, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, ‘take all necessary measures’ to ensure human rights defenders are protected against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary actions” resulting from their legitimate human rights efforts.

Additional coverage:

CNN: “US condemns prison term for Iranian lawyer”

CNN: “Nobel Peace laureate calls for release of jailed activist”

Reuters: “Iran human rights activist jailed for 11 years”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “Iran Jails Another Lawyer”

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