WASHINGTON DC- On March 11, 2019, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, was sentenced to 34 years of prison and 148 lashes. Ms. Sotoudeh was arrested at her home on June 13, 2018 and moved to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. She was convicted of several crimes such as “disrupting public order”, “openly committing a sinful act by appearing in public without head scarf”, “inciting corruption and prostitution”, “assembly and collusion against national security”, and “membership in the defenders of human rights center.” The mullah’s regime has arrested Ms. Sotoudeh over the years including her 2013 prison time that lasted 3 years.
The vicious sentencing comes three days after the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, appointed Ebrahim Raeesi as Chief Justice. Raeesi served on the death commission that ordered the execution of 30,000 of political prisoners in summer of 1988.He is a notorious and well-known criminal by all Iranian human rights and women’s rights activists. Appointing him as the Chief Justice is a mockery of the judicial systems worldwide and allows the regime to further commit human rights violations. In his first official speech as Iran’s Chief Justice, Raeesi reaffirmed his commitment to serve Khamenei and announced “justice will always come second to security” of the regime.
The harsh and unjust sentencing of Ms. Sotoudeh’s case in the latest example of regime’s escalation of violence and inhumane practices.
As Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director said “Nasrin Sotoudeh has dedicated her life to defending women’s rights and speaking out against the death penalty – it is utterly outrageous that Iran’s authorities are punishing her for her human rights work. Her conviction and sentence consolidate Iran’s reputation as a cruel oppressor of women’s rights.”
The Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) urges the world community to speak in one voice and condemn the harsh sentencing of Ms. Sotoudeh. The international community must pressure the Iranian regime to free all political prisoners.