With news of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy and the upcoming presidential election dominating headlines here in the U.S., the media is giving little attention to an historic report about Iranian human rights atrocities coming out of the Hague.
In an interim judgment released on Oct. 27, the Iran Tribunal--a team of internationally renowned lawyers concluded that the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed "crimes against humanity" and "gross violation of human rights."
The Iran Tribunal has no legal standing, but it brings to light credible evidence of the crushing of political dissent through tactics of arbitrary arrest, rape, imprisonment, and execution. Some 20,000 Iranian citizens--including children as young as 11--were executed in the decade immediately following the Iranian Revolution.
While the tribunal examined human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed during the 1980s, we know the leopard hasn't changed it's spots; the same tactics are still being used today against anyone who is deemed a threat to the regime. We've reported extensively about the targeting of Christians like Pastors Youcef Nadarkhani and Benham Irani.
Among the persecuted is human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. She defended many of the protestors who took to the streets during the Green Revolution in 2009. She's also an outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children.
The European Parliament recently awarded Sotoudeh and Iranian filmaker Jafar Panahi the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. While not currently imprisoned, the Iranian government banned the award-winning filmaker from movie making and international travel.
As for Sotoudeh, she still sits in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. The regime sent her there in September 2010 on charges of "acting against national security" and for "collusion and propagation against the Islamic Republic."
She received a 6-year sentence (reduced from 11-years) and is prohibited from practicing law for 20 years. Ms.Sotoudeh is now on a hunger strike (her second one) because she says authoritiies are harrassing her family members and denying her husband and two children the right to hug her during prison visits.
It's not only the pursuit of nuclear weapons by Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah that should concern us. Christians and others like lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who stand for freedom in Iran--despite the known consequences--deserve our prayers and support.
To find out more about Nasrin Sotoudeh, watch this video produced by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: