Number 7. Nasrin Sotoudeh

A fearless defender of human rights in a land where they are regularly denied, the lawyer fell foul of the Iranian regime in 2018 and was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, ostensibly for espionage. While in prison, she learned that she was facing further punishment after a travesty of a trial found her guilty. The crime this time? Just as before – doing her job. Brave and determined, prior to her incarceration she defended militant ecologists opposed to deforestation and anti-corruption activists as well as the now famous ‘Girl of Enghelab Street’ a young Iranian women who removed her Hijab in downtown Tehran and waved it on a stick, like a white flag, for all to see. The regime accused the lawyer of promoting propaganda against the state and inciting debauchery. Ever the realist, she declined to lodge an appeal as there would, she insisted, be no point. In a further blow to the 56-year-old, Iran was recently admitted to UN women's rights committee. But Nasrin continues to receive support. An Amnesty International petition calling for her immediate and unconditional release has received over a million signatures and she was recently awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux human rights award.


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Read the full Special Report: Top Ten Most Influential People in 2019

From science to human rights, from climate change to social media, Leaders League presents its list of the top ten most influential people in 2019.
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