IRAN Iranian lawyers protest conviction of human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

17 March, 2019, 01:54 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Iran appointed to UN Women's Rights Commission same week a women's rights lawyer sentenced to 38 years (and 148 lashes)

The Working Group found that her detention on that occasion was due to the exercise of the rights to freedom of thought, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and her work as a human rights defender.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy director, described the sentence as a "shocking injustice".

On the day the United Nations made the announcement, Iran sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, to an extra 10 years in jail on top of the five-year term she is already serving for defending protesters against the Islamic Republic's mandatory hijab laws.

According to Iran's state-owned news service, IRNA, the rights lawyer was found guilty of "gathering Intel and colluding to commit crimes against national security" and for "insulting the Supreme Leader".

Her husband, Reza Khandan, wrote about the sentencing in a Facebook post on March 11.

Several Members of Parliament in Norway are also alarmed and strongly oppose her imprisonment and especially any lashes.

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.

She has denied all charges against her.


One of Sotoudeh's lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad said that the verdict had been handed down in absentia. "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution. 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.

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

"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".

"Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay".

Iran, often accused of human rights abuse, said on Monday it had allowed UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore to visit last week at the head of a "technical mission".

The global human right NGO said that this is the harshest sentence it has documented against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years. "This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual", he has said.

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".

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