Iranian Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh Faces Long Prison Term, Lashes

Iranian Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh Faces Long Prison Term, Lashes

Iran should immediately free prominent human rights lawyer and defender Nasrin Sotoudeh from jail pending a review of her conviction and sentence, say United Nations human rights experts*.

Nasrin is known for representing women who have protested having to wear the headscarf.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, earlier this week said that she will have to serve an extra 10-years in prison - the longest sentence of the seven verdicts - on top of a five-year term she is now serving.

In a resolution adopted on March 14, the lawmakers urged Iran to release "all human rights defenders, prisoners of conscience, and journalists detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly". In March 2019, the Center for Human Rights in Iran issued a statement denouncing the court system which convicted Sotoudeh as "lacking in worldwide standards of due process". She was also sentenced to 148 lashes, he said.

U.S. govt has condemned the arrest and said, "We are outraged to hear reports that the Iranian regime sentenced Sotoudeh to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes".

According to the Center for Human Rights statement, however, the first case in which Ms. Sotoudeh had been sentenced appeared to relate to a 2015 trial conducted in her absence. Before her detention, last June she defended a group of women imprisoned for appearing in public without the mandatory veil, a legacy norm of the 1979 Islamic revolution and punishable by prison under the penal code. "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution.

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Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, called the sentence "utterly outrageous" on Tuesday, and said on Twitter that the European Parliament stood with Sotoudeh.

"Only the longest sentence will be served", the lawyer's husband told AFP.

"It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing almost 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 (veil) laws".

"This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual".

During the most recent sentencing, Moghiseh "applied the maximum statutory sentence" for each of her charges, and added an additional four years to her prison term, Amnesty International said in a news release on Monday.

The condemnation of the lawyer and activist has raised an indignant response from most of the global community, including human rights NGOs and various Western chancelleries. "Eight months earlier she had been told that the five-year prison sentence issued earlier would be enforced", Khandan said, according to DW.

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