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Conflicting Reports On Jail Term For Iranian Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh poses with her husband, Reza Khandan, her son Nima (L) and her Daughter Mehraveh (R ) at her house in Tehran, September 18, 2013

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to seven years in prison, local media quoted a judge as saying, but Sotoudeh's husband disputed that and said she received sentences totalling 38 years in prison.

A judge at Tehran's Revolutionary Court told the semiofficial ISNA news agency on March 11 that the prominent rights defender had been sentenced to five years for “colluding against the system” and two years for “insulting” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

However, Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, told Radio Farda that she was informed on March 9 that she had been sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes on the second charge.

One of her lawyers, Mahmud Behzadi-Rad, said on March 10 that the verdict was given in absentia, without specifying when it was handed down.

Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was arrested in June 2018 and ordered to serve a five-year sentence imposed on her in absentia in 2016.

International rights groups, the U.S. government, and the European Parliament have denounced the arrest of the lawyer, who in 2018 represented several of the women detained for removing their head scarves in public to protest against the country’s Islamic dress code.

An outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment, Sotoudeh previously spent three years in prison on security charges after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

She has denied all charges against her.

Khandan was sentenced to six years in jail, also for security related charges, his lawyer Mohammad Moghimi and local media said in January.

He later appealed the ruling and was released on bail.

With reporting by AFP and AP