Amnesty condemns 33-year jail term given to Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Amnesty condemns 33-year jail term given to Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

The sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in a new case against her has been described by Amnesty International as an outrageous injustice.

The sentence, reported on her husband Reza Khandan’s Facebook page, brings her total sentence, after two trials, to 38 years in prison. In September 2016, she was sentenced in her absence to five years in prison in a separate case.

Ms Sotoudeh was recently informed by the office for the implementation of sentences in Tehran’s Evin Prison where she is jailed, that she had been convicted on seven charges and sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes.

The charges, which are in response to her peaceful human rights work, include “inciting corruption and prostitution”, “openly committing a sinful act by … appearing in public without a hijab” and “disrupting public order”.

During her sentencing, Article 134 of Iran’s Penal Code was applied, which allows judges to use their discretion to impose a higher sentence than the maximum statutory requirement when a defendant faces more than three charges.

In Ms Sotoudeh’s case, the judge, Mohammad Moghiseh, applied the maximum statutory sentence for each of her seven charges and then added another four years to her total prison term, raising it from the statutory maximum of 29 to 33 years.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and advocacy director, said: “It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly 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 (veiling) laws.”

He added: “Governments with influence over Iran should use their power to push for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s release.

“The international community, notably the European Union, which has an ongoing dialogue with Iran, must take a strong public stand against this disgraceful conviction and urgently intervene to ensure that she is released immediately and unconditionally.”

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