Iran Nasrin Sotoudeh convicted to 11 year prison sentence
10 January 2011

Iran Nasrin Sotoudeh convicted to 11 year prison sentence

The Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been in detention since September 2010, has been convicted to an 11 year prison sentence on 9 January 2011. Furthermore, she will be banned from practicing law and travelling abroad for a period of 20 years. She received 5 years for allegedly undermining national security, another 5 years for not wearing a hejab (Islamic dress) and 1 year for propaganda against the regime. This means that her sentence actually exceeds 10 years; her interrogators reportedly told Sotoudeh that they would not accept a lower sentence.

After the sentence was announced, her husband Reza Khandan was summoned to appear in the Prosecutor’s office in Evin Prison. When he did so on Sunday 16 January 2011, he was arrested. It is unclear what he is charged with, but it is believed that his arrest is linked to remarks he made in interviews, which he gave in efforts to secure his wife’s release from prison.

Nasrin Sotoudeh defended many human rights activists who were arrested in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009. She also defended Shirin Ebadi, the human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate who co-founded the Documentation Center for Human Rights. The conviction of Sotoudeh does not stand on its own; in 2010, lawyers Mohammad Olyaeifard, Shadi Sadr and Mohammad Seifzadeh were convicted to prison and/or physical sentences, and 9 more lawyers were arrested and interrogated or held in detention for some time (some of them are currently still in prison).

Several members of different fractions of the European Parliament have submitted a joint concept resolution regarding the situation in Iran, the prosecution and conviction of, among others, Nasrin Sotoudeh and the systematic prosecution of lawyers and human rights activists.

Sotoudeh has protested against her arbitrary process by means of a hunger strike three times. On 20 December 2010, she stopped her third hunger strike, because her health was in too much danger. Because of the deteriorating condition of Sotoudeh, L4L organized a letter writing campaign in December 2010. Earlier, L4L had also taken action for her, in September and October 2010.

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