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It is certain that the free Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has disturbed the regime of Wilayat al-Faqih, so her punishment was severe when she was sentenced to imprisonment for nearly four decades (38 years) as well as flagellation that reminds us of the punishments in the dark medieval ages.

Nasrin was punished because she raised her voice before the Iranian courts and defended the women of Iran as well as anyone who opposes the regime. It is very clear that the harsh sentence against her was deliberate, with the aim of intimidating anyone who thinks of opposing the regime, defending its opponents or justifying their courage.

Nasrin Sotoudeh deserves a tribute for her courage. If she were in a country other than Iran, she would become an icon in the media, like other world-renowned women activists who won international honoring and prizes. Nonetheless, she has succeeded in capturing the respect and sympathy of the people and the prizes together.

Is it stupidity, hardness or contempt that guide Iran’s judiciary? It was better for a regime that suffers isolation, international sanctions and bad reputation to at least claim its pride in a woman who defends human rights and has won one of the most prestigious international awards! Did Nasrin have to be an Ikhwani activist, like Tawakkol Karman, to receive a word of encouragement and a smile, as did Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with this Yemeni activist in a previous occasion?!

Nasrin was sentenced by an Iranian court to 38 years in prison plus 148 lashes. All of this was because she was pleading before the unjust Iranian judiciary and defended a woman, whose only guilt that she took off her veil in the street during a demonstration, to express the rejection of a large segment of Iranians to suppress and oppression.

Nasrin is threatened to be locked in the prison for 38 years. She is now 55 years old. This means that she will leave the prison, if remained alive, when she is 93 years old! However, the courageous lawyer faced the unjust punishment by abandoning her right to appeal, because she does not want to grant the regime’s judiciary a legal corridor that would imply implicit recognition of the sentence against her.

Nasrin’s situation reveals a lot of calamity. Despite her belonging to an elite group that knows the laws and the rights and still been subjected to this injustice, so what is happening to those simple and oppressed who scream away for the cameras and media!

Nasrin was previously jailed in 2010 on charges of insulting the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as accusing her of spreading rumors that harms national security according to the Iranian authorities. She was then released and won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression by the European Parliament. Ironically, she did not attend the award reception because she was prevented from traveling.

Nasrin Sotoudeh reminds us of the Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. Because the cruelty of the Iranian regime always leads it to a disaster and shows how stupid it is, we do not rule out the case of Nasrin might develop and inspire many oppressed Iranian women in all angry demonstrations and protests that are waiting for a new outbreak.

Those who know about the ancient civilizations of Asia would be all surprised to find that the civilization of Persia has ended by empowering a group of clergymen to dominate power and wealth and controlling the future of the Iranian peoples and other nationalities in it.

It was expected that the Iranians would be ruled by a more open regime! When this hope of all free people in Iran is achieved, the Iranian government will not need to convince its people that their country is besieged by enemies from all sides. Because such a claim promoted by Iran’s mullahs now stems from their need to export the ideology of the reactionary revolution, which might collapse from within at any time. Therefore, the religious regime in Tehran do not give up trying to extend its experience beyond its border.

The closest neighboring country, which Iran will not allow to have a modern secular regime there, is Iraq. That is because Iran fears the contagion of freedom! We realized that when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his recent visit to Iraq, was keen to meet with the Shiite cleric, Al-Sistani, who is practically the spiritual leader of the Shiites of Iraq. Hence, we would not be surprised if the news in the future told us that another Iraqi Nasrin is on trial. Every country that is approached by the Iranian regime will need more than Nasrin to stand up to injustice, backwardness and stupidity.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

marsh 21, 2019

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