Protection of Lawyers | 16.03.2019

Release Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Statement - UIA Governing Board - Cape Town, March 16, 2019


Upon the occasion of the Governing Board meeting of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers), convened in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 16, 2019, we express our most serious concern about our fellow lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is currently serving a five-year sentence to which she was convicted in absentia.

We are shocked to learn of the new harsh and unjust conviction against Ms Sotoudeh. According to her husband, Mr. Reza Khandan, Ms. Sotoudeh was informed that she was once again sentenced in absentia to a combined conviction of 33 years in prison and 148 lashes stemming from seven charges, including “assembly and collusion against national security”; “spreading propaganda against the State”; and “appearing at the judiciary without the Islamic hijab.” It is our understanding that in accordance with Iranian law, Ms. Sotoudeh is to serve 10 additional years in prison, which corresponds to the longest of the different verdicts against her.

This new, egregiously unwarranted and unfair conviction imposed on her is further evidence of the continued judicial harassment against Ms. Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer known worldwide for her unwavering commitment to the defence of human rights, her opposition to the death penalty and her courageous advocacy for the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary system.

UIA therefore strongly condemns the sentencing, the continuing arbitrary detention of Ms. Sotoudeh, as well as the recurrent harassment, including at the judiciary level, to which Ms. Sotoudeh and her family are subject.

We reiterate our full support of and solidarity to Ms. Sotoudeh and her family.

UIA therefore calls upon the relevant Iranian authorities to fully comply with Iran’s obligations under International Human Rights law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified, as well as the UN Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and to take all necessary steps to reverse the convictions and sentences of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, ensure her immediate and unconditional release, and put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Sotoudeh and her family.