Iranian journalist and human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been barred from practicing law for three years, she told reporters in Tehran Sunday.

This is the second time the rights activist has been denied her law license in Iran: although she passed the bar exam in 1995, Sotoudeh was denied her license for eight years because of opposition from the Ministry of Intelligence. This newest denial came at the demand of a court in Evin Prison, Sotoudeh said, where she served nearly three years for “propaganda against the state.”

Sotoudeh received the 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award for her lifelong pursuit of women’s rights as a journalist through a diverse collection of interviews, reports, and articles. As a lawyer, she represented clients including women’s rights activists, political activists, journalists, and fellow lawyers whose cases other attorneys rejected out of fear of reprisal.

PEN is appalled at this continued attempt to silence Sotoudeh for bringing to light truths that are uncomfortable for the state. Despite President Rouhani’s promises that Iran is not backsliding on human rights, this move against the lawyer-activist suggests the opposite. Although we are confident that Sotoudeh will continue to fight for the rights for women and children with her voice and with her pen, we insist that she be returned her legally granted license to practice law.