Iran: UN experts "shocked" at prison sentence for lawyer

Human Rights Lawyer sentenced to 38 years in prison       	         		Posted

GCHR also condemns in the strongest terms the harsh sentence passed against Nasrin Sotoudeh, a peaceful human rights defender, targeted simply for doing her job as a lawyer.

Her husband Reza Khandan wrote in a post on Facebook on Monday.

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 she "was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence".

The experts stated that any prison term for defending human rights was a serious violation of Iran's worldwide obligations. She was also sentenced to 148 lashes, he said.

A report the same day from a state-funded news outlet, the Iranian Students' News Agency, quoted a hard-line judge, Mohammad Moghiseh, as saying that he had sentenced Sotoudeh to a total of seven years in prison and mentioning two charges, of taking part in an illegal assembly and collusion against the state.

Iran Sends Human Rights Lawyer To 38 Years In Prison & 148 Lashes For Defending Women’s Rights
Iran: UN experts "shocked" at prison sentence for lawyer

The Iranian authorities subsequently laid seven further charges against her, including allegations related to national security, public order and appearing before the judiciary without a hijab. 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. If not, it has not been determined why what he said differs from what Sotoudeh was told.

"This verdict shows that making statements in our country comes with such a high price that an attorney can be sentenced to 44 years for it", he told the center. "This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual", he has said. "5 years of prison for the first case and 33 years of prison with 148 lashes, for the second case".

An outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment, Sotoudeh previously spent three years in prison on security charges after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. "Nasrin Sotoudeh has dedicated her life to defending women's rights and speaking out against the death penalty - it is utterly outrageous that Iran's authorities are punishing her for her human rights work", Philip Luther of Amnesty International said.

Amnesty launched an online petition under the title "Free Nasrin Sotoudeh now", calling on the global community to pressure Iran into releasing Sotoudeh after "after two grossly unfair trials".

The condemnation of the lawyer and activist has raised an indignant response from most of the worldwide community, including human rights NGOs and various Western chancelleries.

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