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".
According to Amnesty International, Iran has tightened its grip on outspoken human rights activists, including political dissidents, journalists, online media workers, students, filmmakers, musicians and writers, and minority rights and environmental activists.
According to the Center for Human Rights statement, however, the first case in which Sotoudeh had been sentenced appeared to relate to a 2015 trial conducted in her absence. During the interrogation, she was told that the charges against her are "propaganda against the state", for allegedly being a member of LEGAM, an NGO opposed to the death penalty, and "assembly and collusion against national security". "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution. If not, it has not been determined why what he said differs from what Sotoudeh was told.
It's not clear why the judge in the case is saying the sentence is seven years when it appears to be 38, but in either case, this is ridiculous punishment for trumped-up charges.
Ms. Sotoudeh's situation is also emblematic of an increase in the harassment, arrest and detention of human rights lawyers in Iran in recent months.
Amnesty launched an online petition under the title "Free Nasrin Sotoudeh now", calling on the global community to pressure Iran into releasing Sotoudeh after "after two grossly unfair trials".
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.
"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 (veil) laws. This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual", he has said. "We urge the Iranian authorities to release all lawyers arbitrarily detained for their work defending the legal and human rights of Iranians, and to allow lawyers to undertake their work free from fear of arrest or intimidation by the state", the experts said.