Human rights lawyer in Iran convicted for defending female protesters
A prominent human rights lawyers was reportedly convicted this week of charges related to her defense of female Iranian protesters and faces years in prison.
The Associated Press reports that Nasrin Sotoudeh, 55, was convicted after she defended Iranian women who protested the country’s enforced public uniform of hijabs and robes.
Sotoudeh, who worked with the New York-based Center for Human Rights, previously served a three-year prison sentence for her work and refused to attend her latest trial because Iranian officials did not let her choose an attorney, according to the news service.
She was convicted of “encouraging corruption and prostitution,” the AP reported, adding that her husband, Reza Khandan, also faces six years in prison for sharing updates about her court case on Facebook.
Hadi Ghaemi, director of the Center for Human Rights, told the news service that Sotoudeh’s conviction showed “the insecurity the regime has to any peaceful challenge.”
“It knows a large segment of the country are fed up with the hijab laws,” Ghaemi added.
Other activist groups, including free expression advocates at PEN America, decried Sotoudeh’s convictions, calling it the latest move by the Iranian government to stifle opinion and dissent.
“Sotoudeh’s pathbreaking work defending women in Iran, as well as her consistent attempts to uphold the rule of law, should not be penalized with such a blatant miscarriage of justice,” PEN America told the AP in a statement.