September 16, 2019

IRAN: Iranian Couple Arrested Over Public Marriage Proposal. An Internationally Renowned Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To 38 years In Prison And 148 Lashes Which She Won't Survive.

written by
March 9, 2019

An Iranian couple have been arrested after they got engaged in front of a cheering crowd at a shopping centre.

Video of the public proposal in the northern city of Arak was shared on social media and shows the pair standing in a ring of rose petals.

After the woman says yes, she can be seen hugging her partner as the crowd celebrates.

But they were soon arrested after police said they had contravened Islamic principles.

Mixing between the genders and displays of public affection are severely restricted under Iran's Islamic laws.

Mahmoud Khalaji, the deputy police commander of Markazi province, told Iran's Fars news agency that the couple had been taken into custody due to the "public's demand".

He said they were detained for "outraging public decency, which is an influence of the degenerate Western culture".

Mr Khalaji added that they had been released on bail.

The incident has sparked a debate on social media about the public proposal and Iran's wider social restrictions.

"Poor guys, instead of celebrating they have to bail themselves out while crying!", one Twitter user wrote.

"It's ridiculous and meant for the cameras," another said. "Why make a spectacle of a very personal thing such as marriage?"

It is not the first time Iran's laws on public decency have received international attention.

Last year, an official was arrested after people were filmed dancing at an event in a shopping centre in the city of Mashhad.
The Guardian, UK
written by Reuters in Geneva
Monday March 11, 2019

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, has been handed a new sentence that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.

Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarf, was arrested in June and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said.

She was jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security – charges she denied – and was released after serving half of her six-year term. The European parliament awarded her the Sakharov human rights prize.

Mohammad Moqiseh, a judge at a revolutionary court in Tehran, said on Monday that Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for assembling against national security and two years for insulting the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook that the sentence was decades in jail and 148 lashes, unusually harsh even for Iran, which cracks down hard on dissent and regularly imposes death sentences for some crimes.

The news comes days after Iran appointed a hardline new head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, who is a protege of Ali Khamenei. The appointment is seen as weakening the political influence of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate.

Iran, often accused of human rights abuses, said it had allowed the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore, to visit last week at the head of a “technical mission”.

The visit, confirmed by a UN official, appeared to be the first in many years by UN human rights investigators, who have been denied access by the government.

The UN investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, raised Sotoudeh’s case at the UN human rights council in Geneva on Monday, saying that last week that she “was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence”.

He added: “Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers and labour rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response.”

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