Detained Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing two national security charges for representing women facing prison for peacefully protesting against the compulsory hijab law, an Iranian rights group said today.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said that, according to Sotoudeh’s husband, interrogators have told her she is charged with ‘propaganda against the state’ and ‘assembly and collusion’ because she colluded with a defendant in court. 

Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer, Iran.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Source: Centre for Human Rights in Iran

Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer, Iran.

The defendant was one of several Iranian women arrested for protesting against the Islamic Republic’s compulsory hijab law by removing and waving their headscarves on busy streets. At least three have been charged with acts of civil disobedience. They face up to two months imprisonment and up to 74 lashes. 

Sotoudeh was arrested at her home on 13 June and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran where she was told she was liable to a five-year sentence. She has previously been jailed for three years. Lawyers and several civil rights activists who gathered outside the prison gates in protest on Sunday were attacked and detained by security agents, the Center for Human Rights in Iran said. 

Hadi Ghaemi, the centre’s executive director, called on the judiciary to 'cease its cowardly and unlawful actions of jailing and harassing human rights lawyers'. He added: 'The arrest of this distinguished attorney, who has dedicated her life to defending detainees held on politically motivated charges, reveals the state’s fear of those who defend due process and the rule of law in Iran.’