Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Receives 11 Year Sentence
Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian Human Rights lawyer, received an 11 year prison sentence. Sotoudeh was arrested in September and went to trial on November 15 for allegedly acting against state security, assembling, and collusion with intent to disrupt national security. She was also charged for working with the Center for Human Rights Defenders, which was founded by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. In addition to the 11 year prison sentence, the court has prohibited Sotoudeh from practicing law or leaving Iran for the next 20 years.
Before her arrest, Sotoudeh was a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign and on the board of directors of the Society for Defense of Children's Rights.
Hadi Fhaemi, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, stated, "This is a transparently political sentence aimed at taking one of Iran's leading human rights defenders out of practice via a gross miscarriage of justice. Nasrin Sotoudeh has broken no laws, but is being jailed because she has upheld Iranian and international law in a judicial system bent on violating human rights."
Sotoudeh, who has been in Evin Prison since September 4, went on a hunger strike to protest the conditions of her illegal arrest. After ending her hunger strike for a few days, she started a dry hunger strike, protesting her deprivation of her legal rights, such as the right to telephone calls and visits from her family members and her two young children along with the gross mishandling of her case. She broke her dry hunger strike on November 11 and ended her hunger strike, which lasted a total of 50 days, following the trial.
Media Resources: Washington Post 1/10/11; BBC 1/10/11; International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran 1/9/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/16/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .