World condemns Iran rights lawyer's sentence as prison time extended to 10 years

The United Nations, European Union and Amnesty International all criticised the sentencing of Nasrin Sotoudeh

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 18, 2013 Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (L) speaks on the phone next to her husband Reza Khandan as they pose for a photo at their house in Tehran after Nasrin was freed following three years in prison.  Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, a well known human rights activist imprisoned in Tehran, was sentenced to seven years in prison, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported on March 11, 2019.  / AFP / BEHROUZ MEHRI
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Organisations around the world condemned Iran's sentencing of human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, on Tuesday, branding the conviction as "beyond barbaric" and "outrageous justice".

Ms Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in Iranian prison this week, only serving the longest sentence of ten years, which will be added to a five-year sentence she is currently serving.

The United Nations, Amnesty International, and the European Union are among those who condemned the sentence.

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 Geneva.

There are a series of human rights activists, lawyers and journalists in Iranian prisons, including British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

On Monday, a judge at Tehran's Revolutionary Court said Ms Sotoudeh had been sentenced in her latest conviction to five years for colluding against the system and two years for insulting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But Reza Khandan, Ms Sotoudeh's husband, said that to the best of his knowledge his wife had not been charged with insulting the leader.

Ms Sotoudeh has also been sentenced to 148 lashes for appearing in court without a hijab and another offence.

Before her arrest in June 2018, Ms Sotoudeh had taken a number of cases of women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest of the country's mandatory dress code.

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

"Nasrin 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.

The United States, which has been one of Iran's biggest critics, said it condemned the sentence "in the strongest possible terms".

"This sentence is beyond barbaric," added deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino.