(22 April 2008) The Iranian Judiciary has issued flogging and prison sentences for four campaigners for women’s rights, thus continuing its program of harassment and prosecution of the women’s rights movement.

“These flogging sentences are in violation of Iran’s international obligations and amount to state-sponsored torture. There is no basis for these prosecutions,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated.On 19 April , 2008, Branch 13 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Nasrin Afzali to 10 lashes and a six-month suspended prison sentence, in effect for two years. Afzali’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaii, told the Meydaan website that during her trial on March 12, 2008, the judge issued his sentence although no evidence was presented relating to the charge of “disturbing the public order” brought against her. Security forces detained Afzali along with 32 other women on 4 March, 2006, during a gathering of women’s rights activists in support of five of their prosecuted colleagues.

The same court also sentenced another activist, Nahid Jaafari, to 10 lashes and a six- month suspended prison sentence on the same charges on 21 April, 2008. Branch 16 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh, a sociology student at Tehran University and women’s rights activist, to a two- year suspended prison sentence on 29 March, 2008. She was also suspended for two semesters from continuing her education by the university’s Disciplinary Committee.

Another activist, Marzieh Mortazi Langaroudi, also detained on March 4, 2006, was sentenced to 10 lashes and a six-month suspended imprisonment on 29 March, 2008.

“These systematic prosecutions and heavy sentences are being issued without any evidence and due process. The courts have become a vehicle for intimidating the women’s rights movement to put an end to their peaceful activities,” the Campaign said.