Iranian lawyer sentenced to 38 years in jail, 148 lashes for representing women who removed headscarves in public

The 55-year-old lawyer reportedly represented the protesters against the Islamic Republic's rule of mandatory headscarves for women


                            Iranian lawyer sentenced to 38 years in jail, 148 lashes for representing women who removed headscarves in public

An internationally renowned Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after she defended women who defied the country's laws and removed their headscarves in public.

The 55-year-old lawyer reportedly represented the protesters against the Islamic Republic's rule of mandatory headscarves for women. Many of the female protesters filmed themselves taking off the scarves and posting the footage on social media.

Nasrin Sotoudeh represented the protesters against the Islamic Republic's rule of mandatory headscarves for women (Getty Images)
Nasrin Sotoudeh represented the protesters against the Islamic Republic's rule of mandatory headscarves for women (Getty Images)

Sotoudeh was reportedly arrested June last year and was charged with spreading propaganda, spying and insulting Iran's supreme leader, according to her lawyer. She was also jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.

She denied the charges and was later released after serving half of her six-year term, the Daily Mail reported. She spent three years in prison for representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the re-election of the ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The human rights lawyer's husband, Reza Khandan, took to Facebook on Monday, saying that his wife got decades in prison sentence and 148 lashes, which is unusually harsh even for Iran.



 

Reports state that Sotoudeh had already been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges by the court and sentenced to five years. Although the sentences announced so far totaled her prison years to 12, Khandan on Monday said that she had been condemned to "38 years in prison and 148 lashes."

"Five years of prison for the first case, and 33 years with 148 lashes for the second," Khandan wrote on Facebook.



 

"But only the longest sentence will be served, which is encouraging corruption and debauchery," Khandan said on Tuesday. The news of a fresh sentence for Sotoudeh comes days after Iran appointed a new leader of the judiciary, a hardline cleric and a protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A United Nations investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, on Monday raised Sotoudeh's case at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that the lawyer was "reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence."

Sotoudeh's conviction and prison sentence has been widely condemned across the world and she has just 20 days to appeal the verdict.

Amnesty International condemned the case against Sotoudeh as an “outrageous injustice” and called for her immediate and unconditional release. “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,” it said.