“Sotoudeh, who has dedicated her life to defending Iranian women prosecuted for removing their hijabs in public, has been in the crosshairs of Iran’s theocratic government for years. In 2010, she was convicted of conspiring to harm state security and served half of a six-year sentence. Then, in June of last year, she was rearrested on an array of dubious charges. Tried in secret, details of her ordeal have often come via her husband, Reza Khandan, who wrote of her new, much harsher sentence on his Facebook page on Monday.
Sotoudeh was ultimately charged with seven crimes and given the maximum sentence for all of them. Five additional years were added from a 2016 case in which she was convicted in absentia. The total 38-year sentence was severe even by Iranian standards — a country often accused of human rights abuses, particularly involving women. Observers say it may signal a newly hardline approach to political dissent. Last week, a radical cleric linked to mass executions in the 1980s was appointed head of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary. ”