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Iranian woman to get lashes and prison

July 04, 2007|From Reuters

TEHRAN — An Iranian court has sentenced a women's rights activist to almost three years in prison and 10 lashes for attending a banned rally, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh said Delaram Ali, 24, was her fourth client to be convicted over the protest in favor of rights for women in the conservative Islamic state. Scores of people were detained at the June 2006 demonstration.

"The women's movement is expanding and it worries the government," Sotoudeh said.

She said that the sentence handed down Monday by a court in the capital would be appealed, and that Ali was free on bail of about $21,000.

Ali was given 34 months on charges of participating in an illegal gathering, propaganda activities against the system, and disruption of public order and peace.

"The sentence is illegal in our opinion," Sotoudeh said, adding that peaceful demonstrations are allowed under Iranian law.

Activists say women face difficulties getting a divorce. They also decry unjust inheritance laws for women and the fact that a woman's court testimony is worth half that of a man.

Iran says it does not discriminate against women and that its laws are based on the Islamic Sharia code.

The judiciary said police detained 70 people last year at the illegal gathering. About 100 women had gathered to protest what they called Iran's discriminatory laws Some men also took part.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch had said earlier that six women had been convicted after taking part in the protest.

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