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Diverting attention from thousands of Iranian political prisoners


by Shirin Ebadi
30 Dec-2011
[h2 The clerical regime that misrules Iran is imploding in slow-motion while intensifying its repression at home and threatening behavior abroad. But is the international community doing all it can to support the Iranian people and hold the regime to account It's clear that the leadership in Tehran is wracked by internal strife, with divisions deepening between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies. Iran's economy is in tatters, with inflation and unemployment soaring thanks to decades of mismanagement. While popular discontent is not at a high pitch as it was after the June 2009 presidential election, the fundamental conflict between citizens and dictators continues to smolder. Externally, the regime's defiance of international norms—such as this week threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz—have left Iran more isolated than ever .
In response, the regime has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, renewing its crackdown against students, civil society leaders and human-rights defenders like my friend and colleague Nasrin Sotoudeh. Nasrin earned the enmity of Iran's rulers by accepting the cases of dissidents and challenging laws that deprive women and children of their fundamental rights. She was also involved in the "One Million Signatures Campaign" to abolish discriminatory laws against women in Iran .
On Sept. 4, 2010, Iranian authorities arrested Nasrin on charges of spreading propaganda against the state, acting against national security, donning improper hijab in a filmed speech, and membership in the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the nongovernmental organization that I cofounded. She was denied bail, access to a lawyer and other procedural rights. Then, in January 2010, the regime sentenced her to 11 years in prison and barred her from practicing law for another 20 .
Nasrin has spent the subsequent days in prison, most of them in solitary confinement. She has rarely been granted permission to receive visits from her family .
Her two young children have been traumatized by their mother's ordeal. On the few occasions when they have been allowed to see her, relatives report, the children have wailed inconsolably. Nasrin's husband was denied the right to see his wife several times. Nasrin has gone on two hunger strikes to protest her ill-treatment at the hands of the regime. Her health is of grave concern .
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded its investigation of Nasrin's case in May and has recently released its opinion. It found the Islamic Republic in violation of its obligations under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. "The detention of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh follows from the exercise of [her] rights and freedoms and her work as a human rights defender," the Working Group found. "There are no grounds to justify restriction of those rights" .
Perhaps anticipating an unfavorable outcome in an international legal forum, the Iranian judiciary recently reduced Nasrin's prison term to six years. But every single day in prison is one too many. Her unconditional release—and that of thousands of other political prisoners languishing in the Islamic Republic's jails—is long past due.
The Iranian regime will not observe the basic principles of human rights for its own citizens without outside pressure. Thus the international community must engage Iranian rights defenders and support them with concerted action. The U.N. Security Council should urgently take up the grave status of human rights in Iran. While the appointment of a special rapporteur on human rights in Iran earlier this year was a welcome first step, Tehran's intransigence and refusal to cooperate with him left the rapporteur unable to fulfill his mandate. Only the Security Council, with coercive levers at its disposal, can meaningfully pressure Iran's rulers to stop their violations of citizens' fundamental rights .
International sanctions against Iran's human-rights abusers should also be expanded and deepened. Policy makers in the U.S. and Europe deserve praise for sanctioning leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, agents of the intelligence ministry, and other top officials responsible for the violent crackdown that followed the 2009 uprising. But there is a second tier of less visible officials—including mid-ranking officers in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij paramilitary, and the regular police force—who bear similar responsibility and deserve punishment. The U.S. and EU should freeze their assets and impose visa bans on these officials and their families. The International Criminal Court would also have ample evidence to prosecute these offenders if empowered by the Security Council to do so.
Finally, the international community must more vigorously highlight the suffering of the Iranian people. To bring about the day when Nasrin and other Iranian dissidents can walk freely in the streets of Iran, we need a plan guided by moral vision. This requires the international community to act boldly in line with its highest ideals .
First published in Wall Street Journal
Nobel Peace Prize
by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:35 PM PST
Is a worthless POS and the more I see of it the dumber it is
How does she
by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:30 PM PST
fight for human rights in Iran? Her idea is to give them a stern lecture. Maybe send write Khamenei a hash note and that is it. Her position is to protect the Islamic Republic .
By her own words she buys into the whole Islamic ***. Her job is making sure no real action is taken by promoting meaningless gestures
Amir: Ebadi basically
by alimostofi on Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:48 AM PST
Amir: Ebadi basically accepts them as Iranian that they have an obligation to Iranian people. It is a bit like thinking that the Taliban have an obligation to Afghans .
Ali Mostofi
http://twitter.com/alimostofi
Can we get real, even if only for one second ?
by AMIR1973 on Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:31 AM PST
What's most troubling about Ebadi is precisely the fact that she is a high-profile person and potentially could have some impact (like Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Walesa, Havel, etc), but yet chooses to use her platform to oppose meaningful actions against the Islamist terrorist regime and instead advocates for totally meaningless ones unlikely to have any real impact on the IRI .
The Iranian regime will not observe the basic principles of human rights for its own citizens without outside pressure .
Correction: The Iranian regime will not observe the basic principles of human rights for its own citizens EITHER WITH or without outside pressure. The Iranian regime will not observe the basic principles of human rights for its own citizens. Period. Full stop .
While the appointment of a special rapporteur on human rights in Iran earlier this year was a welcome first step, Tehran's intransigence and refusal to cooperate with him left the rapporteur unable to fulfill his mandate .
A "special rapporteur on human rights" was appointed. The IRI refused him entry, and that was the end of that. Done. End of story. Next ?.
Only the Security Council, with coercive levers at its disposal, can meaningfully pressure Iran's rulers to stop their violations of citizens' fundamental rights
Refer to Points 1 and 2 above .
4) But there is a second tier of less visible officials—including mid-ranking officers in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij paramilitary, and the regular police force—who bear similar responsibility and deserve punishment. The U.S. and EU should freeze their assets and impose visa bans on these officials and their families. The International Criminal Court would also have ample evidence to prosecute these offenders if empowered by the Security Council to do so .
So mid-ranking IRGC, Basijis, and regular police are vacationing in the South of France and have bank account at B of A, where they know they are vulnerable to sanctions? Really? And what good is an arrest warrant from the ICC when there is no enforcement behind it? Do you know when an ICC warrant becomes meaningful? In the case of Milosevic, who was overthrown by Serbians, helped by outside forces. Or in the case of Qaddafi's son -- same thing. Without outside intervention and regime change,
Advocacy and fighting for human rights in Iran
by Bavafa on Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:52 AM PST
Are some of the reason which has earned this lady much respect not just by the Iranians but the world together. It is the act of doing something as oppose to empty rhetoric we see here twice a day in a form of blog and other messages .
My hats off to this lady and all the defender of human rights not only in Iran but everywhere in the world .
'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory
Mehrdad
What is wrong with the Iranian culture ?
by BeeTaraf on Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:39 AM PST
What is wrong with the Iranian culture ?
After so many years of living in US, I am becoming less & less proud of my Iranian culture. What is wrong with this culture? Why are we in this dire situation; killing our youth, imprisoning our intellectuals and allowing power hungry fanatic zealots to rule over our destiny? My sense is that after living for hundreds of years under the corrupt dynasty of "kings" and now religious dictators we have lost the critical mass of intellectual knowledge to resolve our cultural, economical and social challenges! The solution is not within sight if we keep following this trend… We need much more
salman farsi
by Fred on Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:23 AM PST
Knowing an Islamic Democracy is an oxymoron, like a baldy with curly hair, I would never say such thing. You’ve mistaken me with someone else .
However, if you believe an “Islamic Democracy” is in the realm of possibilities, so be it. It is the beauty of freedom which allows people to believe --as long as it does not inhibit the rights of others-- in anything they wish including the existence of tooth fairy .
Does Unqualified Ms. Ebadi Represent Iranians ?
by bfarzin on Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:02 AM PST
I cannot imagine how it worked out that this woman received Nobel Peace Prize-- are we Iranians so illiterate and stupid that Ms. Ebadi was found the top "intellectual" among us to receive the Nobel Prize? I do not think so, and I believe even the Prize judges must, by now, have figured out how big an error they have made .
Because of such an error by Nobel organization, for a while I had lost my confidence in all Nobel Prize winners; even those who won the prize in Physics, medicine, etc. I have now partially recovered. Ms. Ebadi, to my knowledge, must be the only uninformed and unqualified person who has received this prize-- let's hope so .
I do not forget her talk in L.A., after she had received her prize, when she was kind of supporting the Khamenei and Co. I believe she went to opposition only after Ahmadinejad started asking her to pay taxes on the money that Nobel organization had given to her. Unfortunately, this process is repeated on most of the "late switchers," such as Sazegara, and the rest of them. My message to all of these characters: Iranians do not forget your roles in IRI. You will not scape people's courts when these mobsters calling themselves "government" are put on trial .
One should ask these late "freedom supporters:" where were you when your comrades, who have now run you out of town, were busy killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians, and you were cheering them on? I suspect they were collecting cash while it was being made available to them-- and they changed only after their share of cash was reduced or eliminated .
Ms. Ebadi, and people similar to her, are less than worthless. Mullahs at least are not changing their color every day. These late comers do not even have the decency to acknowledge their participation in massacres, and then apologize for them, and seek people's forgiveness .
"Islamic Democracy"
by Fred on Fri Dec 30, 2011 08:14 AM PST
"The International Criminal Court would also have ample evidence to prosecute these offenders if empowered by the Security Council to do so" .
Regardless of whomever they might be, even if her brother who was an advisor to the “President”, it is Lady Ebadi’s duty as a lawyer to actively work to take the Islamist Rapists to ICC .
What Reza Pahlavi is doing, Lady Ebadi should be doing
She needs to spend more time on facilitating the prosecution of the Islamist Rapists “reformers’ and all, than selling her books and the nonsensical “Islamic Democracy" .]
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