Iran rights lawyer Sotoudeh to face new trial

Tehran:Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh will go on trial again on December 23, her lawyer Payam Derafshan told official news agency IRNA.

Sotoudeh, an award-winning activist, was arrested in June and told she had already been found guilty “in absentia” on spying charges and sentenced to a six-year prison term by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

It was not clear what charges she would face in the new trial, which will be heard at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

Prior to her arrest in June, 55-year-old Sotoudeh had taken on the cases of several women arrested for standing in public areas without their headscarves, which are mandatory in Iran.

She had also criticised a new criminal code that allows only a small number of lawyers to represent individuals charged with national security offences, including a list of just 20 for Tehran.

In September Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, was also arrested and charged with conspiring against national security, propaganda against the system and campaigning against Iran’s Islamic dress code.

Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offences committed as minors.

She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009.