Op-ed: Tyrants fear women's power
Ottawa Citizen / Shirin Ebadi

Nasrin is a 48-year-old lawyer, human rights campaigner and women's rights activist.

How, according to the Iranian regime, is she breaking the law? Charges against Nasrin include "acts against national security," "anti-regime propaganda" and belonging to the Centre for Human Rights Defenders. In January 2011, Nasrin was sentenced to 11 years in prison. In mid-September 2011, the Appeals Court reduced her prison sentence to six years and a ban against practising law from 20 years to 10.

Amnesty International considers Nasrin to be a prisoner of conscience because she is in custody for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association. They have been joined by many prominent human rights campaigners around the world - including Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights - in calling for Iranian authorities to release her immediately from prison.

For so many of us working to raise awareness of Iran's human rights abuses, Nasrin's case is a reminder of just how determined Iran is to stop the winds of change and thwart any efforts to bring any form of democracy to Iran.

Nasrin and I worked together on the One Million Signatures Campaign to change discriminatory laws against women in Iran, and also the Centre for Human Rights Defenders. But her bravest work has been in defending the rights of many fellow activists who have been arrested, tried unfairly and then jailed. When I was harassed by the Irani... >>>

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