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

17 March 2019

The Tehran Court judge, however, said the punishment is of 7 years - five years for assembling against national security and two years for insulting the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In 2010, Sotoudeh was arrested on charges of spreading propaganda against the state and for conspiring to harm state security.

Following this statement, Sotoudeh's husband wrote in a Facebook post that she had been sentenced to 38 years imprisonment and 148 lashes.

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.

One of Sotoudeh's lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad said that the verdict had been handed down in absentia. She spent three years in prison and was released in 2013.

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In an open letter to the Iranian people, and sent by one of the authors to VOA Persia for publication, the group of 16 jurists emphasizes that the sentence violates the commitments enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic on the subject of human rights and due process. "5 years of prison for the first case and 33 years of prison with 148 lashes, for the second case".

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

According to Amnesty International, Iran has tightened its grip on outspoken human rights activists, including political dissidents, journalists, online media workers, students, filmmakers, musicians and writers, and minority rights and environmental activists.

Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, a year ago represented several of the women detained for removing their head scarves in public to protest against the country's Islamic dress code.

"It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing almost four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran's degrading forced hijab (veil) laws".

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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".

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

"Human rights should be defended, not prosecuted", he added.

"Regardless of the length, any prison sentence imposed for defending human rights defenders and their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly amounts to arbitrary detention", they said.

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