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Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Seven Years' Prison

17 March 2019
Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Seven Years' Prison

The Commission's Working Group considers communications received by the United Nations of alleged human rights violations affecting the status of women, and uses these to identify "trends and patterns of injustice and discriminatory practices against women for purposes of policy formulation and development of strategies for the promotion of gender equality".

Prior to her arrest in June 2018, Ms. Sotoudeh was well known for representing women and other dissidents who had protested against the Iranian laws which make it compulsory for women to wear a headscarf in public.

Sotoudeh, held at Evin Prison in Tehran, told her husband about the latest sentencing during a brief telephone conversation, the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a monitoring group, said in a statement on Monday.

Iran has faced global condemnation after one of the country's most prominent human rights lawyers, detained for eight months, said she had been sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her husband.

On March 11, judge Mohammad Moghiseh spoke of a sentence of seven years in prison: five years for "crimes against national security" and two additional years for "insults" to the supreme leader, the great ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, Reza Khandan, posted on Facebook about the punishment "38 years of prison with 148 lashes are the result of 2 open cases". She was also sentenced to 148 lashes, he said.

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.

One of Sotoudeh's lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad said that the verdict had been handed down in absentia. While sharing his concern he said that she "was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence".

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

Human Rights Watch said the sentence was "draconian", describing it as "an appalling travesty of justice".

In an explosive report released earlier this month, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iran, Javaid Rehman, blasted the Islamic Republic for "the trend of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, being arrested and imprisoned in connection with their activities, and the increasing numbers of arrests of lawyers and labour activists".

"This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual".

Amnesty International has released a statement terming the sentence given to Sotoudeh "an outrageous injustice".

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.