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Nasrin Sotoudeh Sentenced

Status: 
Sentenced
About the Situation

On 11 March 2019, woman human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes and was denied access to a copy of the verdict against her. She was only permitted to see the text of the sentence and to note the charges of which she was convicted.

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The defender was arrested in June and has been in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since.

About Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin SotoudehNasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent human rights lawyer who in recent months has acted as the lawyer for women’s rights activists who protested against the compulsory veiling in Iran and were subsequently prosecuted. According to her husband, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh was informed that she will be imprisoned for five years, however neither of them are aware of the charges against her.

21 March 2019
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes

On 11 March 2019, woman human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes and was denied access to a copy of the verdict against her. She was only permitted to see the text of the sentence and to note the charges of which she was convicted.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a woman human rights defender and lawyer who represented many human rights defenders opposed to the current regime in Iran. She legally represented women’s rights activists who protested the compulsory veil and also worked extensively with young prisoners sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years of age. She has been held in Evin Prison since she was detained on 13 June 2018.

On 11 March 2019, Nasrin Sotoudeh learned that she had been sentenced to 33 years in jail and 148 lashes by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. She was permitted to briefly call her husband, Reza Khanden, to inform him of the sentence and he subsequently posted the news on Facebook. As a result of a previous sentence of five years for “espionage in hiding” under Article 501 which was handed down to her in 2015, she is now due to serve 38 years in prison.

On 19 March 2019, having been refused a copy of the verdict, Nasrin Sotoudeh took notes on the Revolutionary Court in Tehran’s verdict. She subsequently gave the notes to her husband during a prison visit. According to the notes, the 33 year sentence is an accumulation of seven criminal charges from Iran’s Penal Code.

The human rights defender was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for “assembly and collusion with intention to commit a crime against national security” under Article 610; 1.5 years in prison for “propaganda against the state” under Article 500; 7.5 years in prison for her membership of the ‘Legam’ organization “group against capital punishment’’ under Article 499; 12 years in prison for “encouraging corruption and prostitution” under Article 639; 74 lashes for appearing in public without the hijab under Article 638; 3 years in prison and 74 lashes for “publishing falsehoods with the intention to disturb public opinion” under Article 698; and 2 years in prison for the “disturbing public order” under Article 618.

The judge invoked Article 134 of Iran’s Penal Code, which allows for the most severe sentence possible on each charge if a defendant is found guilty of more than three offences.

On 30 December 2018, in an appeal hearing of the five-year sentence Nasrin Sotoudeh received in 2015 for “espionage in hiding”, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran upheld her sentence. The woman human rights defender told her husband that she did not intend to appeal the latest sentence, fearing that her defence lawyers would suffer retaliation for defending her.

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khanden, has faced judicial harassment in retaliation for publicly communicating about his wife’s case. He was arrested on 4 September 2018 and released on bail on 24 December 2018. In a separate case, on 22 January 2019, Reza Khandan was sentenced in absentia to six years imprisonment and banned from leaving the country or engaging in online activities for two years for peacefully protesting the country’s compulsory hijab law. He remains at risk of re-arrest.

Front Line Defenders condemns the lengthy sentence against human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and the judicial harassment of her husband, Reza Khanden, which it believes is motivated by their legitimate and peaceful defence of human rights in Iran.

29 August 2018
Human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh on hunger strike

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The defender was arrested in June and has been in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights defender and lawyer who in recent months has represented a number of women’s rights defenders who have faced charges as a result of their protests against compulsory veiling in Iran. The defender has also actively criticised the new limit which has been imposed by the Iranian judicial system on the number of state-approved lawyers which are permitted to defend political and security based cases.

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The next day, the Assistant Prosecutor and two other judicial authorities filed three new charges against her for “urging a referendum,” “assisting in the formation of house churches” and “organising protest rallies”. The human rights defender believes that these charges have been filed as a result of her failure to attend a court hearing on 15 August 2018, when she was sentenced to five years in prison in absentia for “propaganda against the state”, “assembly against national security” and “espionage”. The defender has lodged an appeal against these convictions.

On 18 August 2018, at approximately 8 a.m., three agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, holding a warrant from Branch 7 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison, raided Nasrin Sotoudeh’s house while her children were asleep. The agents also raided the house of her sister-in-law. It is believed that the agents were searching for objects related to the defender’s human rights work, such as badges reading “I oppose the compulsory Hijab”.

In recent months, arrests of human rights lawyers and defenders have intensified in Iran. The judicial system of Iran has targeted human rights lawyers by limiting their ability to freely represent clients, through the promulgation of a restrictive list of approved legal representatives which are permitted to represent political prisoners.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned by the conviction and judicial harassment against Nasrin Soutoudeh, which it believes is solely a result of her legitimate and peaceful activities in the defence of human rights, and urges the authorities in Iran to immediately quash her conviction, release her, and discontinue all other judicial proceedings against her. Front Line Defenders is further concerned by the harassment of the defender’s relatives and requests the authorities to immediately cease such actions.

15 June 2018
Prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, arrested

UPDATE: On 1 July 2018, the prosecutor informed Nasrin Sotoudeh that she is charged with "propaganda against the state" and "assembly and collusion". According to her husband, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh has refused to hire a defence attorney in protest against the judiciary’s recent introduction of a short-list of state attorneys approved to defend those with politically based charges.

On 13 June 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh, the human rights defender was arrested at her home in Tehran. She was transferred to prosecutor's office of Evin prison.

View Urgent Appeal PDF

In 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh was given a prison sentence of eleven years and banned from working as a lawyer or leaving the country for twenty years. Nasrin Sotoudeh remained in prison for three years under charges of 'spreading propaganda' and 'conspiring to harm state security', designed to force her to stop her legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Nasrin Sotoudeh was finally released in September 2013 after receiving a pardon. Prior to her detention, Nasrin Sotoudeh represented many human rights defenders opposed to the current regime in Iran, and worked extensively with young prisoners who had been sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18.

Front Line Defenders believes that the recent arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh is directly related to her activities in the defence of human rights, particularly her work as a human rights lawyer.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Iran to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Nasrin Sotoudeh, as Front Line Defenders believes she is being held solely as a result of her legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Drop all charges against her;

3. Ensure that the treatment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including deprivation of liberty and judicial harassment