The International human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, has been sentenced to 38 years and 148 lashes for her peaceful activism in favor of women. This sentence has been made public by her husband Reza Khandan on his Facebook page on Monday, March 11.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was already serving a five-year sentence since June 2018. She was prosecuted on several counts, including disclosure of information directed against the state, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader. She is also particularly known for supporting women who were demonstrating and prosecuted for removing their headscarves.
While a judge at a revolutionary court in Tehran said that Nasrin Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for threat to national security and two additional years for insulting the country’s supreme leader, her husband claims on Facebook that the sentence is 38 years of prison and 148 lashes.
This sentence comes a few days after the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi – supported by Ali Khamenei – at the head of the Iranian judiciary system. Considered as extremely severe, this sentence has been condemned by many human rights organizations. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, reported a growing concern that the civilian space for lawyers and human rights defenders is being reduced.
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh jailed ‘for 38 years’ in Iran
Lawyer sentenced to decades in prison and 148 lashes, husband writes on Facebook
Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, has been handed a new sentence that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarf, was arrested in Juneand charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said.
She was jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security – charges she denied – and was released after serving half of her six-year term. The European parliament awarded her the Sakharov human rights prize.
Mohammad Moqiseh, a 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, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook that the sentence was decades in jail and 148 lashes, unusually harsh even for Iran, which cracks down hard on dissent and regularly imposes death sentences for some crimes.
The news comes days after Iran appointed a hardline new head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, who is a protege of Ali Khamenei. The appointment is seen as weakening the political influence of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate.
Iran, often accused of human rights abuses, said it had allowed the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore, to visit last week at the head of a “technical mission”.
The visit, confirmed by a UN official, appeared to be the first in many years by UN human rights investigators, who have been denied access by the government.
The UN investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, raised Sotoudeh’s case at the UN human rights council in Geneva on Monday, saying that last week that she “was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence”.
He added: “Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers and labour rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response.”
Source: The Guardian, Reuters (No byline), Mar. 11, 2019. Photo credit to Behrouz Mehri/AFP.