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Iran rights lawyer Sotoudeh to face additional 10 years in jail

AFP  |  Tehran 

Iranian Sotoudeh has been sentenced to an extra 10 years in jail on top of the five-year term she is already serving, her husband said Tuesday.

Sotoudeh is an award-winning rights activist who was arrested last June and told she had been found guilty in absentia of espionage charges and sentenced to five years.

The new 10-year sentence was the longest of seven different verdicts totalling 33 years bundled together in a case and communicated to Sotoudeh in prison, according to her husband

"But only the longest sentence will be served, which is 'encouraging corruption and debauchery and providing the means'," he told AFP by telephone.

He said Sotoudeh had also been sentenced to a total of 148 lashes for appearing in court without the hijab Islamic head covering and for another offence.

She had been found guilty of "colluding against the system, propaganda against the system... disrupting public order" and several other counts.

On Monday, a at said she had been sentenced in her latest conviction to five years for colluding against the system and two years for insulting Iran's Ayatollah

But Khandan said to the best of his knowledge his wife had not been charged with insulting the leader.

The United Nations' top expert on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said the reported conviction was "a crystal-clear illustration of an increasingly severe state response".

"There is an increasing concern that the civil space for human rights lawyers and defenders is being reduced," he told journalists in

condemned the latest case against Sotoudeh as an "outrageous injustice" and called for her immediate and unconditional release.

"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," it said.

Before her arrest, Sotoudeh, 55, had taken on the cases of several women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest at the mandatory dress code in force in

Sotoudeh won the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offences committed as minors.

She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 23:56 IST