Amnesty: Sentencing of Iran lawyer Sotoudeh 'outrageous' | News

Amnesty: Sentencing of Iran lawyer Sotoudeh ‘outrageous’ | News

Sotoudeh has been in jail since last June [File: Arash Ashourinia/AP] Amnesty International has condemned the sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh, calling it “outrageous injustice”.
Sotoudeh, who has been in Tehran’s Evin prison since last June, was sentenced to 148 lashes and 33 years in prison on Monday.
In 2016, she was sentenced in absentia to five years in a separate trial.
“It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab [headscarf] laws,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy director.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” he continued.
Amnesty criticises rights crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt (2:42)
The lawyer was convicted on seven charges, which Amnesty described as a response to “her peaceful human rights work”.
The charges include “inciting corruption and prostitution”, “openly committing a sinful act by… appearing in public without a hijab” and “disrupting public order”.
Amnesty noted that Sotoudeh’s sentencing is the harshest the group has documented in Iran in recent years, suggesting that the Iranian government is increasing its repression on activists and rights defenders.
Sotoudeh, 56, has represented several women arrested for protesting against the mandatory wearing of headscarves.
Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile rights and political cases, including juveniles facing the death penalty in the country.
She has defended journalists and activists, including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and several dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009.
This is not Sotoudeh’s first stint in prison.
In 2010, she was arrested by security forces and later sentenced to 11 years in prison. She was also banned from practising law for 20 years, before the Lawyers’ Court at the Tehran Bar Association overturned the ban on her legal practice in August 2014.
During her time in jail, Sotoudeh staged two hunger strikes in protest against the conditions in Evin and a ban on seeing her son and daughter.
She was released in September 2013, shortly before Iran’s then-newly elected President Hassan Rouhani , who had campaigned on a pledge to improve civil rights, attended the UN General Assembly.
Amnesty’s Luther called on governments with influence over Iran to use their power to secure Sotoudeh’s release.
“The international community, notably the European Union, which has an ongoing dialogue with Iran, must take a strong public stand against this disgraceful conviction and urgently intervene to ensure that she is released immediately and unconditionally,” he said.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

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NEWS RELEASES | Sister Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash

Sister Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash Sister Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash On Sunday, March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. All 157 people on board were killed. Sadly, one of our sisters, Rosemary Mumbi, was among those killed in the plane crash. Sister Mumbi was 66 years old and a full-time minister in the Roma Manzoni Inglese Congregation in Rome, Italy. We are deeply saddened to hear of this tragic loss. We look forward to the resurrection, when we will welcome back faithful servants of Jehovah, including Sister Mumbi.— Revelation 20:13 .

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Amnesty: Sentencing of Iran lawyer Sotoudeh ‘outrageous’ | News

Sotoudeh has been in jail since last June [File: Arash Ashourinia/AP] Amnesty International has condemned the sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh, calling it “outrageous injustice”.
Sotoudeh, who has been in Tehran’s Evin prison since last June, was sentenced to 148 lashes and 33 years in prison on Monday.
In 2016, she was sentenced in absentia to five years in a separate trial.
“It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab [headscarf] laws,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy director.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” he continued.
Amnesty criticises rights crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt (2:42)
The lawyer was convicted on seven charges, which Amnesty described as a response to “her peaceful human rights work”.
The charges include “inciting corruption and prostitution”, “openly committing a sinful act by… appearing in public without a hijab” and “disrupting public order”.
Amnesty noted that Sotoudeh’s sentencing is the harshest the group has documented in Iran in recent years, suggesting that the Iranian government is increasing its repression on activists and rights defenders.
Sotoudeh, 56, has represented several women arrested for protesting against the mandatory wearing of headscarves.
Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile rights and political cases, including juveniles facing the death penalty in the country.
She has defended journalists and activists, including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and several dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009.
This is not Sotoudeh’s first stint in prison.
In 2010, she was arrested by security forces and later sentenced to 11 years in prison. She was also banned from practising law for 20 years, before the Lawyers’ Court at the Tehran Bar Association overturned the ban on her legal practice in August 2014.
During her time in jail, Sotoudeh staged two hunger strikes in protest against the conditions in Evin and a ban on seeing her son and daughter.
She was released in September 2013, shortly before Iran’s then-newly elected President Hassan Rouhani , who had campaigned on a pledge to improve civil rights, attended the UN General Assembly.
Amnesty’s Luther called on governments with influence over Iran to use their power to secure Sotoudeh’s release.
“The international community, notably the European Union, which has an ongoing dialogue with Iran, must take a strong public stand against this disgraceful conviction and urgently intervene to ensure that she is released immediately and unconditionally,” he said.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

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Samora Mangesi: South African presenter ‘victim of racist attack’ – BBC News

Image copyright Samora Mangesi Image caption Samora Mangesi tweeted pictures of the injuries he sustained in the alleged assault A black South African TV and radio presenter has said he was the victim of a racially motivated attack after stopping to help a group of white people whose car had overturned.
Samora Mangesi tweeted photos of the injuries he sustained in the alleged assault, which he said happened on Friday.
He and his two female friends were called “monkeys”, he said.
When they asked why they were being insulted, he was beaten unconscious.
Image Copyright @Samora_Mangesi @Samora_Mangesi Report Image Copyright @Samora_Mangesi @Samora_Mangesi Report During the alleged attack in the city of Johannesburg, Mangesi, who is a presenter for SABC, said he received injuries to his face and was bruised along the side of his body after being kicked on the ground.
“Even whilst I was being put in the ambulance, one of these guys tried to run my friend over with his bakkie [pick-up truck] and the paramedics had to intervene.”
Africa Live: Updates on this and other stories How race relations in the ‘rainbow nation’ have become toxic In the days following the attack, his memory was “very sporadic”, he said.
“As much as they say I was awake, I don’t remember being in the ambulance, arriving at the hospital nor much of the treatment.”
He thought about “letting it go and just continuing with my life”, but has now reported the incident to police, he added.
A police spokesman told the BBC that a case of alleged assault was being investigated.
News of the alleged assault has sparked anger on local social media, reports the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

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Brexit: MPs to vote on delaying leaving the EU – BBC News

How could Brexit be delayed?
The government had wanted to keep control of the Brexit process, and keep no-deal on the table, so they then ordered Conservative MPs to vote against their own motion.
That tactic failed. Government ministers defied those orders and there were claims Mrs May had lost control of her party.
The updated motion, to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances, was passed by 321 to 278, a majority of 43.
However, Wednesday’s no-deal vote is not binding – under current law the UK could still leave without a deal on 29 March, unless an extension is agreed with the EU.
Please upgrade your browser to view this interactive How did my MP vote on 13 March?
Enter a postcode, or the name or constituency of your MP Seat vacant
Speaking after the result of the vote was read out, Mrs May said: “The options before us are the same as they always have been.
“The legal default in EU and UK law is that the UK will leave without a deal unless something else is agreed. The onus is now on every one of us in this House to find out what that is.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Parliament must now take control of the Brexit process and his party will work across the House of Commons to seek a compromise solution. What is the EU saying?
On Thursday morning, European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted that he would “appeal to the EU27 to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”. Report
BBC Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly said that before approving any extension to Article 50 – the legal instrument by which the UK will leave the EU – EU leaders would want to know “how long an extension the UK requires and how it proposes to use the time”.
A European Commission spokesperson said: “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both.
“To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal – you have to agree to a deal.
“We have agreed a deal with the prime minister and the EU is ready to sign it.” How did ministers vote last night?
Thirteen government ministers – including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark, Justice Secretary David Gauke and Scottish Secretary David Mundell – defied the government whips by abstaining in the vote. The papers: A ‘no-no’ to no-deal and May’s final warning
Work and pensions minister Sarah Newton voted against the orders of the whips and has now resigned.
Mr Mundell said he backed the PM’s deal and had always made clear his opposition to a no-deal Brexit.
In a crisis there can be opportunity.
This is now a crisis – the rules that traditionally have preserved governments are out of the window.
The prime minister has been defeated again. Her authority – if not all gone – is in shreds.
But for Number 10 there’s an opportunity too, because MPs will soon be presented with a new choice – back the PM’s deal, which has already been defeated twice, or accept the chance of a delay to Brexit.
This isn’t the choice of a government that’s in control. But the tactic is to make the best of chaos.
Read more from Laura here. What else happened last night?
MPs also voted by 374 to 164 to reject a plan to delay the UK’s departure from the EU until 22 May 2019, so that there can be what its supporters call a “managed no-deal” Brexit.
This amendment was known as the Malthouse Compromise – after Kit Malthouse, the government minister who devised it.

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