Iran Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh jailed for 38 years

Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

A prominent human rights lawyer jailed in Iran has been sentenced to a total of 38 years in jail and 148 lashes in Tehran, according to her husband.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been in Tehran’s Evin prison since last June, was sentenced to 148 lashes and 33 years in prison on Monday.

Mohammad Moqiseh, a notorious judge at a revolutionary court in Tehran, said on Monday that Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for assembling against national security and two years for insulting the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the state run IRNA news agency reported.

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook on March 11, 2019, that his wife has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes (five years for one case and 33 years for a second case involving a combined total of nine charges). In January 2019 Khandan was also sentenced to six years in prison.

During a brief phone conversation with her husband, Sotoudeh insisted that her sentence is 38 years in prison and 148 lashes and should be reported in its original form regardless of whether it is later reduced.

Amnesty International has condemned the sentencing of the human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender, calling it “outrageous injustice.”

In 2016, she was sentenced in absentia to five years in a separate trial.

“It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab [headscarf] laws,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy director.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” he continued.

In another development, the EU on Tuesday condemned the jail sentence imposed on Sotoudeh, calling for an “immediate review” of the case.

The bloc said the Iranian rights defender had not had a fair trial at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and insisted her right to appeal must be respected.

The EU said it “expects an immediate review of her sentence as well as the conviction of her husband Reza Khandan, who was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in January 2019”.

The United Nations’ top expert on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said the reported conviction was “a crystal-clear illustration of an increasingly severe state response”.

“There is an increasing concern that the civil space for human rights lawyers and defenders is being reduced,” he told journalists in Geneva.

Imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who previously served three years in prison, was tried in absentia in December 2018, at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided by judge Mohammad Moghiseh. She has been in prison since June 2018 after she was detained for representing women who had been arrested during protests in Iran.