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

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 17, 2019

GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

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.

A group of Iranian lawyers has joined the criticism of the global community for the sentence of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes imposed in recent days on Nasrin Sotoudeh, leader of the fight against the mandatory veil. The charges include "colluding against the system" and "insulting" Iran's supreme leader. 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 reportedly denied the right to a lawyer of her own choosing for her most recent trial.

According to the Center for Human Rights statement, however, the first case in which Sotoudeh had been sentenced appeared to relate to a 2015 trial conducted in her absence.

At the time of the arrest, last year, the Iranian authorities had informed the leader of the fight against the mandatory veil that she had received a sentence in absentia of five years in prison for espionage.

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Norwegian officials are formally objecting to an Iranian court's harsh verdict against lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh.

"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", said Philip Luther, who is the research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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".

He added: "Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers and labor rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response".

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

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