Iranian human rights lawyer sentenced to 38 years in prison, 148 lashes

Iran appointed to UN Women's Rights Commission same week a women's rights lawyer sentenced to 38 years (and 148 lashes)

Famed lawyer sentenced to '38 years prison, 148 lashings' in Iran

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".

Trettebergstuen, who serves as Labour's spokesperson on equality issues, thinks Sotoudeh's efforts are having an effect "because it's clearly scaring the Iranian regime so much that they want to whip her into silence". 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".

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.

There's been mixed signals over the actual length of Sotoudeh's sentence, reports newspaper Aftenposten, with one judge saying she was "only" sentenced to two years in prison for offending Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and five years for "meetings and conspiracy against the state".

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.

She was also reportedly denied the right to a lawyer of her own choosing for her most recent trial.

According to India Times, She was charged with multiple national security-related offences. Regarding her 2016 conviction, she apparently had no knowledge that espionage charges had been laid against her until she was arrested in 2018.

One of Sotoudeh's lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad said that the verdict had been handed down in absentia. Norwegian state secretary Audun Halvorsen told Aftenposten that even a minimum sentence of seven years gives "great cause for concern".

"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".

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".

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". Amnesty International says Sotoudeh's case is part of an increasingly harsh crackdown on rights activists in Iran.

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

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