The UN, Iran and Women's Rights

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Sotoudeh's lawyer, Payam Derafshan, told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in December that Sotoudeh - arrested last June - had been charged with spreading information against the state, which include insulting Iran's Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and spying.

Quoting Sotoudeh's lawyer Mohammad Moghimi, Human Rights Watch stated that Sotoudeh was sent to prison on charges of assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the state, and her membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center, the Legam group campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty, and the National Peace Council.

A group of Iranian lawyers has joined the criticism of the worldwide community for the sentence of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes imposed in recent days on Nasrin Sotoudeh, leader of the fight against the mandatory veil.

Halvorsen said Norway's foreign ministry would follow up the concrete case against Sotoudeh, in close cooperation with the European Union and other countries. It is also reported she could serve over 10 years in prison. "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution.

Several Members of Parliament in Norway are also alarmed and strongly oppose her imprisonment and especially any lashes. In March 2019, the Center for Human Rights in Iran issued a statement denouncing the court system which convicted Sotoudeh as "lacking in global standards of due process".

Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, past year represented several of the women detained for removing their head scarves in public to protest against the country's Islamic dress code.

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She has reportedly been sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after what Amnesty International called two "grossly unfair" trials.

In 2011, Ms. Sotoudeh was the subject of an Opinion by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning her earlier arrest and conviction.

The worldwide human right NGO said that this is the harshest sentence it has documented against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years.

On 11 March 2019, human rights defender Reza Khandan posted on his Facebook page that, "Nasrin's sentence in relation to her last cases has been informed to her in prison. This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual", he has said.

Amnesty International has released a statement terming the sentence given to Sotoudeh "an outrageous injustice". "We urge the Iranian authorities to release all lawyers arbitrarily detained for their work defending the legal and human rights of Iranians, and to allow lawyers to undertake their work free from fear of arrest or intimidation by the state", the experts said.

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