Iranian human rights lawyer sentenced to 38 years in prison, 148 lashes

The Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh with her husband, Reza Khandan, and their children in Tehran in 2013, after a previous release from prison. Photo: AFP

An Iranian human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her husband.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested from her house eight months ago. The government did not offer any explanation for the arrest, but at the time she was defending women who were arrested for removing their headscarves during public protests, reported The New York Times.

Her husband, Reza Khandan, wrote about the sentencing in a Facebook post on March 11.

Related: Iranian couple arrested over public proposal

Sotoudeh was charged in absentia with espionage and endangering Iran’s national security. She began a hunger strike on August 23 from her cell at the Evin Prison to protest against the charges, according to Deutsche Welle.

She received the European Union’s human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in 2012.

“It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab (veil) laws. Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” said Philip Luther, who is the research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Follow SAMAA English on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.