The Iranian media reported that two human rights lawyers have been sentenced to six years in prison.The Arman daily reported Tuesday that Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi and Arash Keikhosravi were sentenced to 5 years in prison for being a part of an “illegal gathering”, as defined by the government and one year for “propaganda” against the ruling system. It further adds that an appeal can be made against the order in a higher court of law.
The prevailing state of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran has been criticized passively by Iranians, and quiet vocally by human rights activists, writers and NGOs alike. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission have vehemently condemned prior and ongoing abuses in Iran through resolutions.
Restrictions in Iran include punishments for victim-less crimes, such as fornication and homosexuality; execution of offenders under 18 years of age; restriction on freedom of speech and press; and restrictions on freedom of religion and gender equality in the Islamic Republic’s constitution.
The two lawyers were arrested in August when they took part in a protest outside the parliament building, calling for free elections. However, they were released on bail last week.
Sholeh-Saadi, 64, a longtime critic of the political establishment, was barred from running for President by the Supreme Electoral Council in 2017.
Although Iran holds regular presidential and parliamentary elections, the controversial council of religious clerics chooses suitable candidates, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final word on all major policies.
Being an authoritative theocracy, all power in Iran is centralized and is mainly vested in the hands of the powerful Grand Ayatollah who has supreme discretion over all internal and foreign affairs. The state’s deplorable human rights record is further depleted by arrests of journalists, lawyers, activists and people with dissenting religious beliefs.
Public executions and custody deaths represent the legal scheme in the state. There is also restriction on women attending certain universities, along with a compulsory hijab rule. Apostasy is completely banned, with Sunnis and Sufis being persecuted regularly. The arrest of two prominent human rights lawyers only compounds the theocracy’s human rights violations.