March 12, 2019
Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, announced her husband, while judiciary authorities said she was sentenced to 7 years.
Judge Mohammad Moqiseh at a revolutionary court in Tehran, said on Monday that Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for assembling against national security and two years for insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Agence-France Presse reported Iranian news outlets.
Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook that the sentence was decades in jail and 148 lashes, unusually harsh even for Iran.
The news comes days after Chief of Judiciary Sadeq Larijani appointed a hardline new head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron invited Sotoudeh to give recommendations to the Group of Seven (G7) nations.
Macron, along with a group of human rights advocates, gathered on February 19 at Elysees Palace in Paris to discuss potential strategies that the G7 could employ to reduce violence and discrimination against women.
Macron’s official letter was delivered to Khandan on March 7 via the lawyer of the French Embassy in Tehran. A copy of the invitation has been sent to the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the Iranian Bar Association.
Khandan was previously sentenced to five years in jail for security-related charges, and one year for propaganda against the regime.
State agencies reported one of Sotoudeh’s lawyers as saying that she chose not to be represented in court because the case did not adhere to the “principles of a fair trial.”
Last June, Sotoudeh was arrested and told she had already been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges and sentenced to five years by the court.
In 2012, she was awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors.
Sotoudeh had previously served about half of a six-year jail sentence imposed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security, charges she denied before being freed in 2013.
Last year, Sotoudeh represented a number of women who have removed their headscarf, or hijab, in public to protest against Iran’s mandatory Islamic dress code for women, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group.
Sotoudeh, who has represented Iranian opposition activists, embarked on a 50-day hunger strike in 2012 against a travel ban on her daughter, reported Reuters. Her case then caused an international outcry in which the United States and the human rights group Amnesty International criticized Iran.