Saturday, September 21, 2013

Human Rights Lawyer Among Those Released in Iran

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the efforts of the new Government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community, and its recent release of a dozen political prisoners, as he met with the country’s Foreign Minister. Among the political prisoners released this week is human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as a number of women’s rights activists, political activists and journalists. 

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters, Mr. Ban recalled that he had raised this issue during his visit to Iran last year and had urged the Government to release these prisoners. “I am glad that they have finally taken action,” he said, as he reported on his meeting today with Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif.

“I told the Minister that I am pleased that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is now taking some concrete steps to fulfil the promises made by President [Hassan] Rouhani during his recent election campaign. The Secretary-General is scheduled to Mr. Rouhani next week “to discuss matters of mutual concern” on the sidelines of the annual high-level debate held by the General Assembly. 

Mr. Ban and Mr. Zarif also discussed Iran’s growing cooperation with the international community on a host of issues, including the nuclear file, as well the role Iran could play in promoting a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

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I've just written a related story regarding an eminent lawyer in Munich in 1933, just weeks after Hitler came to power, who tried to complain at the city's police headquarters about his client whose human rights had been violated. However, civil rights laws had just been ‘suspended’. Instead of helping the lawyer, the police seriously assaulted him, and then made him march around the city with a board hung around his neck saying he wouldn't complain to the police again.

In Nazi Germany, one of the first acts of government was to ‘suspend’ laws protecting human rights. I was reminded of this history when the British government recently suggested that it could 'temporarily' suspend, or even withdraw from, its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

To read my story go to: 'The photo that alerted the world'

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Posted by: Jon Danzig | Sep 22, 2013 10:43:32 AM

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