[JURIST] Women's rights activist Delaram Ali [advocacy profile; personal blog] is to begin a sentence [JURIST report] of 34 months in prison and 10 lashes Saturday, despite leniency pleas from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Change for Equality [advocacy reports]. Ali was sentenced for her part in a 2006 demonstration [JURIST report], where she and other activists protested Iranian laws that discriminate against women. She had been out on bail, but her pending appeal was recently dismissed and Iranian authorities ordered her to begin serving her sentence on Saturday. Charges of abuse [arrest photos] that Ali had brought against police were also dismissed.
The demonstration was intended to help collect one million signatures [advocacy website] protesting Iran's interpretation of Sharia law [BBC backgrounder], which has been held to require a woman to obtain her male guardian's permission to work or travel, to prohibit women from serving as judges, and to give a woman's testimony only half the value of a man's. Ali was officially charged [Iranian penal code, PDF] with "acting against national security" and "advertising against the system," as were other activists present. BBC News has more.