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He told Aljazeera: "It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing almost 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 [headscarf] laws".

On the day the United Nations made the announcement, Iran sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, to an extra 10 years in jail on top of the five-year term she is already serving for defending protesters against the Islamic Republic's mandatory hijab laws. The charges which she faced to be given this sentence were not confirmed.

The Commission's Working Group considers communications received by the United Nations of alleged human rights violations affecting the status of women, and uses these to identify "trends and patterns of injustice and discriminatory practices against women for purposes of policy formulation and development of strategies for the promotion of gender equality".

Following this statement, Sotoudeh's husband wrote in a Facebook post that she had been sentenced to 38 years imprisonment and 148 lashes. Before her detention, last June she defended a group of women imprisoned for appearing in public without the mandatory veil, a legacy norm of the 1979 Islamic revolution and punishable by prison under the penal code.

According to India Times, She was charged with multiple national security-related offences.

"We are deeply concerned about Ms. Sotoudeh's conviction and the prison sentence imposed".

She was also reportedly denied the right to a lawyer of her own choosing for her most recent trial.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested from her house eight months ago.

Amnesty launched an online petition under the title "Free Nasrin Sotoudeh now", calling on the worldwide community to pressure Iran into releasing Sotoudeh after "after two grossly unfair trials". Her deprivation of liberty was therefore found by the Working Group to have been arbitrary**.

The continued human rights work of Nasrin Sotoudeh shows that concerns for human rights are still prominent in Iran.

"Lawyers play an essential role in ensuring the protection of human rights".

He added: "Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers and labor rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response".

The global human right NGO said that this is the harshest sentence it has documented against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years.

Sotoudeh, held at Evin Prison in Tehran, told her husband about the latest sentencing during a brief telephone conversation, the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a monitoring group, said in a statement on Monday.