IRAN Iranian lawyers protest conviction of human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

IRAN Iranian lawyers protest conviction of human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

Security agents arrested the lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, at her home in June past year.

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. The government did not offer any explanation for the arrest, but at the time she was defending women who were arrested for removing their headscarves during public protests, reported The New York Times.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, earlier this week said that she will have to serve an extra 10-years in prison - the longest sentence of the seven verdicts - on top of a five-year term she is now serving.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world and top state sponsor of global terrorism, has been appointed a seat on the United Nations' Women's Rights Committee, Hillel Neuer of the watchdog group UN Watch reported Wednesday. She was also sentenced to 148 lashes, he said.

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

A report the same day from a state-funded news outlet, the Iranian Students' News Agency, quoted a hard-line judge, Mohammad Moghiseh, as saying that he had sentenced Ms. Sotoudeh to a total of seven years in prison and mentioning two charges, of taking part in an illegal assembly and collusion against the state.

The experts stated that any prison term for defending human rights was a serious violation of Iran's global obligations. "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution.

One of Sotoudeh's lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad said that the verdict had been handed down in absentia.

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"Only the longest sentence will be served", the lawyer's husband told AFP.

"This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual".

In this file photo taken on September 18, 2013 Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh smiles at her home in Tehran after being freed following three years in prison.

He told Aljazeera: "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 [headscarf] laws".

Amnesty International has released a statement terming the sentence given to Sotoudeh "an outrageous injustice".

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".

Sotoudeh had been serving a 5-year sentence after being convicted on June 13, 2018.

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