Iran rights lawyer Sotoudeh sentenced to seven years in prison

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to seven years in jail for security offences, a judge at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court told semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday.

The seven-year verdict could be the tip of the iceberg in a much harsher sentence that amounts to 38 years in prison, according to a Facebook post by her husband Reza Khandan.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to five years for colluding against the system and two years for insulting the leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei),” said judge Mohammad Moghiseh to ISNA.

The case has since been referred to the court of appeal, he added.

According to Mohammad Moghimi, one of Sotoudeh’s lawyers, she chose not to be represented in court because the case did not adhere to the “principles of a fair trial”.

Sotoudeh is an award-winning rights activist who was arrested last June and told she had already been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges and sentenced to five years by the court.

Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. – AFP

While the sentences announced so far total 12 years, Sotoudeh’s husband said on Monday 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.

He did not clarify whether the latter sentence referred to the case reported by ISNA on Monday, or additional verdicts not yet made public.

Before her arrest, Sotoudeh, 55, had taken on the cases of several women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest at the mandatory dress code in force in Iran.

Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offences committed as minors.

She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of the ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.