Gulf News: Iranian Woman Activist Gets Suspended Jail Sentence

Saturday 10 May 2008

Gulf News: Iranian woman activist gets suspended jail sentence

Published: May 05, 2008, 13:23

Tehran: A prominent Iranian women’s rights activist said on Monday she had received a two-year suspended jail sentence, the latest such punishment for a campaigner in favour of greater female rights in the Islamic Republic.

Parvin Ardalan, who said in March she was barred from leaving Tehran to accept a Swedish human rights award, said a branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Court last week announced the sentence for her role in a gathering by activists last year.

She said this was her second sentence, following a partly suspended three-year jail term for involvement in another banned demonstration in 2006.

The 41-year-old journalist said, "Many women activists have this kind of (suspended) sentence. Some...don’t do anything, some of them are very quiet, very careful about what they do."

Western diplomats see the detention of women activists in Iran as part of a wider crackdown on dissent, which they say may be in response to international pressure over Iran’s nuclear work. Iran rejects accusations it wants to build an atomic bomb.

The women activists say they face institutionalised discrimination that makes them second-class citizens in divorce, inheritance, child custody and other aspects of life.

Iran rejects accusations it disriminates against women, who are legally entitled to hold most jobs and can also vote.

Clerics say women in Iran are protected from the sex symbol status they have in the West and that the country is implementing what it calls God’s divine law.

Ardalan was the fifth campaigner to receive a suspended sentence over the incident in March 2007, when about 30 activists gathered outside a court to show solidarity with her and four others on trial inside.

Read the article in Gulf News


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