Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human-rights attorney featured in Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi,” has received a 33-year prison sentence from the Iranian government. The harsh punishment comes after what Amnesty International describes as “two grossly unfair trials,” bringing Sotoudeh’s total sentence to 38 years. The lawyer and activist most recently earned attention for defending women who protest Iran’s hijab laws.
Panahi himself is seen as a victim of his country’s government, as he received a six-year prison sentence and 20-year ban on filmmaking in 2010 after being charged with propaganda against the regime. He was also barred from leaving the country. The move was met with widespread condemnation from the international film community, and an ever-defiant Panahi reacted in part by covertly directing four more films — including “Taxi,” which won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear in 2015.
Sotoudeh was first imprisoned in 2010, also for spreading what Iranian authorities referred to as propaganda, which was likewise condemned abroad. She launched two hunger strikes, the second of which lasted 49 days, and was released in September 2013. Her second arrest came last June and, in addition to time behind bars, included 148 lashes.
Amnesty International’s Philip Luther reacted by saying that “jailing a human rights defender for her peaceful activities is abhorrent but the fact that the judge in Nasrin Sotoudeh’s case used his discretion to ensure that she stays locked up for more than is required under Iranian law compounds the outrageous injustice of her sentence.”
The organization launched a petition calling for Sotoudeh’s release.
Human rights activist #NasrinSotoudeh sentenced in Iran to 33 years in prison. In Jafar Panahi’s Taxi – winner of the 2015 Golden Bear -, Sotoudeh plays herself: a lawyer banned from practising. We ask everyone to sign the petition for her liberation: https://t.co/W5dwFDnAB5 pic.twitter.com/qwqoj0gDse
— Berlinale (@berlinale) March 15, 2019