Friday, October 08, 2010


Last week more that 400 activists in Iran signed a petition demanding the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.  

Instead of being released she enters the twelfth day of a hunger strike.

Ms. Sotoudeh, who has defended many of those the Iranian government doesn't much care for was arrested on 4 September after being summoned to a court at the notorious Evin prison. In addition, a week prior to her arrest, her home and workplace had been inspected, following which she was summoned to court for charges such as “acting against national security” and “propagating against the Islamic Republic.”

Sotudeh has also been an activist for the rights of women and children as well as a human rights lawyer who has been at the forefront of the fight against the execution of children under the age of eighteen in Iran. 

Nobel Peace Laureate and Iranian lawyer, Shirin Ebad says, “Ms. Sotoudeh is one of the last remaining courageous human rights lawyers who has accepted all risks for defending the victims of human rights violations in Iran. She represented many of those who were arrested after the election, and though she was repeatedly threatened by security officers that if she continued her defense work she was going to be arrested, she responded that every individual is entitled to have access to a lawyer, and that her work was in accordance with the law. She refused to oblige the illegal demands of security officials and continued her honorable work. She accepted most her cases pro bono,” Ebadi told the Campaign.
“Unfortunately, the Iranian government is daily tightening its stranglehold on defenders of human rights. They could not tolerate this woman’s courage and arrested her. Since her arrest, they did not even accept her release on bail in order for her attend her father’s funeral service, and all this time she has not been able to visit with her family or lawyer,” said the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate.
Since her arrest, her husband Reza Khandan and her lawyer Nasim Ghanavi have been warned against speaking up publicly about her ordeal. Reza Khandan has even been summoned for interrogation in Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court, which he has described as a “series of threats”.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LDDHI), the Union Internationale des Avocats, and the World Organization Against Torture have all condemned her arrest and imprisonment.
The persecution of defense lawyers in Iran is a growing trend in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The following is from Ms. Magazine.

Jailed Iranian Human Rights Lawyer on Hunger Strike

Prominent jailed Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, confirmed in a short telephone conversation with her husband, that she is on the twelfth day of a hunger strike.

Sotoudeh, who defended many political activists and campaigners in Iran's presidential elections last year, has been held in Tehran's Evin Prison since September 4, 2010, after police forces allegedly attacked her house and arrested her in front of her husband and children charges of "acting against state security" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic," according to Amnesty International.

Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and a group of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and others, have called for the immediate and unconditional release of Sotoudeh in a joint statement last week. Ebadi has also expressed deep concern about Sotoudeh's health during the hunger strike, according to theNobel Women's Initiative.

Media Resources: Deutsche Welle 10/6/10; Amnesty International 10/1/10; Nobel Women's Initiative

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