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Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

Status: 
On hunger strike
About the Situation

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The defender was arrested in June and has been in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since.

About Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin SotoudehNasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent human rights lawyer who in recent months has acted as the lawyer for women’s rights activists who protested against the compulsory veiling in Iran and were subsequently prosecuted. According to her husband, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh was informed that she will be imprisoned for five years, however neither of them are aware of the charges against her.

29 August 2018
Human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh on hunger strike

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The defender was arrested in June and has been in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights defender and lawyer who in recent months has represented a number of women’s rights defenders who have faced charges as a result of their protests against compulsory veiling in Iran. The defender has also actively criticised the new limit which has been imposed by the Iranian judicial system on the number of state-approved lawyers which are permitted to defend political and security based cases.

On 25 August 2018, human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against her judicial harassment and the continuing pressure which is being exerted on her family, relatives and friends. The next day, the Assistant Prosecutor and two other judicial authorities filed three new charges against her for “urging a referendum,” “assisting in the formation of house churches” and “organising protest rallies”. The human rights defender believes that these charges have been filed as a result of her failure to attend a court hearing on 15 August 2018, when she was sentenced to five years in prison in absentia for “propaganda against the state”, “assembly against national security” and “espionage”. The defender has lodged an appeal against these convictions.

On 18 August 2018, at approximately 8 a.m., three agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, holding a warrant from Branch 7 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison, raided Nasrin Sotoudeh’s house while her children were asleep. The agents also raided the house of her sister-in-law. It is believed that the agents were searching for objects related to the defender’s human rights work, such as badges reading “I oppose the compulsory Hijab”.

In recent months, arrests of human rights lawyers and defenders have intensified in Iran. The judicial system of Iran has targeted human rights lawyers by limiting their ability to freely represent clients, through the promulgation of a restrictive list of approved legal representatives which are permitted to represent political prisoners.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned by the conviction and judicial harassment against Nasrin Soutoudeh, which it believes is solely a result of her legitimate and peaceful activities in the defence of human rights, and urges the authorities in Iran to immediately quash her conviction, release her, and discontinue all other judicial proceedings against her. Front Line Defenders is further concerned by the harassment of the defender’s relatives and requests the authorities to immediately cease such actions.

15 June 2018
Prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, arrested

UPDATE: On 1 July 2018, the prosecutor informed Nasrin Sotoudeh that she is charged with "propaganda against the state" and "assembly and collusion". According to her husband, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh has refused to hire a defence attorney in protest against the judiciary’s recent introduction of a short-list of state attorneys approved to defend those with politically based charges.

On 13 June 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh, the human rights defender was arrested at her home in Tehran. She was transferred to prosecutor's office of Evin prison.

View Urgent Appeal PDF

In 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh was given a prison sentence of eleven years and banned from working as a lawyer or leaving the country for twenty years. Nasrin Sotoudeh remained in prison for three years under charges of 'spreading propaganda' and 'conspiring to harm state security', designed to force her to stop her legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Nasrin Sotoudeh was finally released in September 2013 after receiving a pardon. Prior to her detention, Nasrin Sotoudeh represented many human rights defenders opposed to the current regime in Iran, and worked extensively with young prisoners who had been sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18.

Front Line Defenders believes that the recent arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh is directly related to her activities in the defence of human rights, particularly her work as a human rights lawyer.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Iran to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Nasrin Sotoudeh, as Front Line Defenders believes she is being held solely as a result of her legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Drop all charges against her;

3. Ensure that the treatment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including deprivation of liberty and judicial harassment