Nasrin Sotoudeh defended many of the human rights activists who were arrested after the presidential elections in June 2009. She also defended Shirin Ebadi, the human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate who co-founded the Defenders for Human Rights Center. She also acted as lawyer of the Iranian-Dutch Zahra Bahrami, who was executed in Iran on 29 January 2011.
Sotoudeh was originally sentenced to prison for 11 years, but in appeal that sentence was reduced to 6 years. Also, she was banned from practising law and travelling abroad for a period of 20 years. She received the punishment for allegedly undermining national security, propaganda against the regime and for not wearing a hejab (Islamic dress or headscarf). This means that her sentence was higher than requested: her interrogators reportedly told Sotoudeh that they would not accept a lower sentence.
After the sentence was announced, Sotoudeh’s husband was summoned to appear in the prosecutor’s office in the Evin Prison, where he was arrested on 16 January 2011. It is unclear what he is charged with, but it is believed that his arrest is linked to remarks he made in interviews he gave in connection with the case against his wife.
In September 2013, Nasrin Sotoudeh was unexpectedly released, after having been in detention for three years.
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