Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, was handed a new sentence on Monday which her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarf, was arrested in June and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said.
She also was jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security — charges she denied — and was released after serving half her six-year term. The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook that the sentence was decades in jail and 148 lashes, unusually harsh even for Iran, which cracks down hard on dissent and regularly imposes death sentences for some crimes.
The news comes days after Iran appointed a new head of the judiciary — Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who is a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The appointment is seen as weakening the political influence of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate.
The visit, confirmed by a UN official, appeared to be the first in many years by UN human rights investigators who have been denied access by the government.
“Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labour rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response,” Rehman said.