The UN investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, raised Sotoudeh's case at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, saying that last week she "was reportedly convicted of charges relating to her work and could face a lengthy prison sentence".
Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, previous year represented several of the women detained for removing their head scarves in public to protest against the country's Islamic dress code.
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. He said that Sotoudeh had been sentenced to five years for "colluding against the system" and two years for "insulting the leader", Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. After another trial, the court sentenced her to a total of 38 years and 148 lashes.
There have been conflicting reports and statements about the length of the sentences imposed on Sotoudeh, with a judge at Tehran's Revolutionary Court saying earlier this month that she had been sentenced to seven years in prison on two charges. 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.
Nasrin Sotoudeh has been charged with several national security-related offenses, all of which she denies. If not, it has not been determined why what he said differs from what Sotoudeh was told. "I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years", he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and prostitution.
"This verdict shows that making statements in our country comes with such a high price that an attorney can be sentenced to 44 years for it", he told the center.
Javaid Rehman, the United Nations investigator on human rights in Iran raised Sotoudeh's case at the United Nations human rights council in Geneva on Monday.
Human Rights Watch said the sentence was "draconian", describing it as "an appalling travesty of justice".
"This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual". "Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay", said Philip Luther, who is the research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
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".