Too Harsh A Sentence

Photo by Bob Jagendorf

Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested, quickly tried, and sentenced to 33 years and 148 lashes in Tehran, according to Amnesty International. The long sentence was allowable by Iranian law because of the many charges against her; with more than three charges, the judge was allowed to use his discretion at her sentencing.

The BBC reports that her stated offenses were spreading information against the state, insulting Iran’s supreme leader and spying.

The actual offenses are likely to be the ones for which she is internationally known: defending women who have been arrested for not wearing a hijab in public and arguing against using the death penalty for juveniles.

Sotoudeh has been in prison before. She was jailed in 2010 for three years for “spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.” Those charges were directly associated with her legal work in defense of human rights in Iran. She was released only after international pressure grew when she drew attention with a hunger strike.

Sotoudeh was awarded the Sakharov Prize for her efforts then. The International Federation for Human Rights explained:

Detained in Evin prison since September 2010, she has been subjected to increasingly restrictive and clearly discriminative and arbitrary conditions of detention. In recent weeks, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s visiting day has been changed from Sunday to Wednesday without any legitimate ground being provided by the prison authorities. In addition to being deprived of face-to-face family visits, the new measure, which contravenes the prison’s rules, has made it more and more difficult for her to receive visits from her family over the past three months.

Previously, Ms. Sotoudeh had been held for long periods in solitary confinement and denied contact with her family and lawyer. She also reportedly suffered acts of torture in prison in order to force her to confess. On July 11, the authorities banned her husband and her 12-year-old daughter from traveling abroad.


Her family is attempting to once again bring international pressure to bear, in the hopes of getting her freed.

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.