The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) strongly condemns the
recent sentencing of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and calls for her immediate and unconditional release. Ms. Sotoudeh was arrested on June 13, 2018 without notice and charged arbitrarily with a myriad of unsubstantiated offenses, including spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader. All charges stem from Ms. Sotoudeh’s work as a human rights attorney and are clearly politically-motivated and intended to stifle dissent.
Ms. Sotoudeh has remained resolute in her commitment to human rights during her imprisonment. She has conducted two hunger strikes and refused to participate in her trial after being denied the right to select her own lawyer. As a result, Ms. Sotoudeh was tried and convicted in absentia in front of Judge Moghiseh – a judge who has sentenced more political prisoners and prisoners of conscience than any other sitting judge in Iran.1 Ms. Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan recently announced on Facebook that Judge Moghiseh sentenced Ms. Sotoudeh to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes. Not only is this sentence morally corrupt, it is also in violation of international standards for human rights.
Ms. Sotoudeh, who has been at the forefront of human rights work in Iran and most recently represented activists in the movement against compulsory hijab laws, was also a vocal critic of the judiciary – the same system that now seeks to punish her for her work. Ms. Sotoudeh was an easy target for hardliners in Iran eager to impose an outrageous sentence and make an example out of her. The repression of human rights defenders in Iran has intensified in recent years and Ms. Sotoudeh is just one of many attorneys who have been arrested and imprisoned2. The U.S. has been an accomplice in this political repression by imposing illegal and inhumane sanctions against Iran. These sanctions have harmed the collective will of the Iranian people and strengthened the conservative agenda of the hardliners, who are now consolidating their power to undermine dissent in Iran.
1 See, e.g., Six Judges Accused of Leading Role in Iranian Crackdown on Free Speech (The Guardian, July 31, 2014),
2 See, Judiciary’s Intensifying Crackdown on Defense Attorneys in Iran Must End (Center for Human Rights in Iran,
August 14, 2018), https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/08/judiciarys-intensifying-crackdown-on-defenseattorneys-