Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Iranian man sentenced for support of women’s rights campaign

Amir Yaghoub Ali and his lawyer announced Monday that he has become the first Iranian man sentenced for participating in the “Change for Equality” campaign against laws discriminatory to women, The Associated Press reported the next day.

According to the article, Ali was convicted of acting against national security and sentenced to a year in prison for participating in the campaign, started by Iranian women’s rights activists in September 2006.

Ali was arrested last July while collecting signatures for the campaign, which aims to change laws that refuse women access to equal rights in matters such as divorce and court testimonies. He then spent nearly a month in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison before being freed on bail.

Convicted on March 2, Ali and his lawyer were not notified of the verdict until May 25. Ali has remained free throughout this time and plans to appeal the case.

“My client is innocent,” said Nasrin Sotudeh, Ali’s lawyer.

Equally defiant, Ali has said he believes in his actions. “Changing discriminatory laws will benefit Iranians and will create a fairer social environment,” Ali said. “Our call for change is considered by the ruling Islamic establishment as crossing red lines. Authorities don’t want to allow any changes in laws in support of women rights. That’s why they seek to suppress such demands.”

According to the article, “Parvin Ardalan, one of the signature campaign leaders, said that along with Ali, about 50 women activists have been detained or summoned to court over the campaign.”

“This is a policy of intimidation by the authorities,” she alleged. “But we won’t give up.”

For the full article, click here.


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