Iran: lawyer convicted for representing protesters

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) announced March 5 that human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh had been convicted in absentia by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh of Iran's Revolutionary Court, described as a "hardline" jurist. She refused to appear in court because she was denied the right to choose her own lawyer. Sotoudeh had been charged with crimes including "collusion against national security," "propaganda against the state," "encouraging corruption and prostitution," "appearing before the judiciary without Islamic hijab," "disturbing public peace and order," and "publishing falsehoods with the intent to disturb public opinion." Prosecution cited her membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center, the Legam group against capital punishment, and the anti-militarist National Peace Council

Sotoudeh has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison since June when she was taken from her home by security agents. This is not her first time in Evin Prison; Sotoudeh previously served three years from 2010-2013 for taking on other political cases as a defense lawyer.

CHRI's executive director Hadi Ghaemi stated, "The Iranian judiciary prosecuted Sotoudeh under national security charges to send a clear message that it will not tolerate the peaceful defense of human rights by activists or their lawyers. We should all speak out against this travesty of justice."

In 2012 Sotoudeh won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Europe's highest human rights award, and recently defended women accused of removing their hijab to protest the law requiring that women wear the traditional Muslim head covering.

From Jurist, March 7. Used with permission.

Photo: Center for Human Rights in Iran

  1. Nasrin Sotoudeh gets 38 years in prison with 148 lashes

    Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan posted on Facebook that his wife has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.

    Amnesty International criticized the Islamic Republic in an urgent letter on March 4 and called for the immediate release of the 55-year-old human rights lawyer. "The charges against her stem solely from her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting Iran’s abusive forced hijab laws, and her outspoken opposition to the death penalty," said the letter addressed to Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran's judiciary. (Jurist)