Joint letter on conviction Nasrin Sotoudeh
On 30 December 2018, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after being tried in absentia and without access to a legal representative of her own choosing. In a joint letter Lawyers for Lawyers and the Law Society of England & Wales expressed their concern about the conviction of Ms Sotoudeh and called for her immediate release.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent human rights lawyer who in recent months has acted as the lawyer for women’s rights activists who protested against the compulsory veiling in Iran and were subsequently prosecuted. On 13 June 2018, she was arrested at her home in Tehran and taken to Evin prison, where she is still being held. It was reported that during a visit to Evin prison on 17 June 2018, Ms. Sotoudeh informed her husband that her charges seem to relate to “colluding” with Shaparak Shajarizadeh. Ms. Shajarizadeh is one of the women Ms. Sotoudeh was representing in a case brought against a number of individuals who had protested against compulsory veiling, while they were in the prosecutor’s office in Kashan, Isfahan province.
This is not the first time Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested. In 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh was given a prison sentence of eleven years and banned from working as a lawyer or leaving the country for twenty years. After she appealed, her prison sentenced was reduced to 6 years. Nasrin Sotoudeh remained in prison for three years under charges of ‘spreading propaganda’ and ‘conspiring to harm state security’. Nasrin Sotoudeh was finally released in September 2013 after receiving a pardon.
Prior to her detention 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh represented 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.
Lawyers for Lawyers fears that the arrest and conviction of Nasrin Sotoudeh are related to her activities in the defence of human rights, particularly her work as a human rights lawyer. On 22 August 2018, L4L together with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, already called for her immediate release.
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