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Nasrin Sotoudeh Sentenced

Status: 
Sentenced
About the Situation

On 20 October 2020, officers at the public ward of Evin prison asked Nasrin Sotoudeh to prepare herself to be sent back to hospital. However when she made all the necessary arrangements, prison authorities instead transferred her to Qarchak Prison in the Varamin neighbourhood of Tehran.

On 14 October 2020, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, expressed concern that the imprisoned woman human rights defender was experiencing “grave cardiac and pulmonary problems” since ending her 46 day hunger strike.

On 25 September 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh ended her hunger strike due to her seriously deteriorating condition.  The defender informed her husband, Reza Khandan, by telephone the following day.

On 23 September 2020, woman human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh was returned to the quarantine ward of the Evin prison after spending five days in Taleghani hospital. Reza Kahandan, the defender’s husband, described Sotoudeh’s health condition as being even worse than when she was admitted to hospital.

On 16 September 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband announced that the woman human rights defender, who has been on hunger strike since 10 August 2020, has experienced a significant drop in blood sugar level and is suffering from extreme fatigue, headache, dizziness and nausea.

On 9 September 2020, in a message from Evin prison, Nasrin Sotoudeh who is currently on her 30th day of hunger strike, dedicated her human rights award from the German Judges Association (DRB) to four prisoners facing execution in Iran.

On 10 August 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Iran despite the pandemic and the inaction by the authorities in response.

On 27 July 2020, woman human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, reported that his wife's bank accounts had been blocked by the Tehran Prosecutor's Office.

On 11 March 2019, woman human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes and was denied access to a copy of the verdict against her. She was only permitted to see the text of the sentence and to note the charges of which she was convicted.

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.

23 October 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh transferred to Qarchak prison

On 20 October 2020, officers at the public ward of Evin prison asked Nasrin Sotoudeh to prepare herself to be sent back to hospital. However when she made all the necessary arrangements, prison authorities instead transferred her to Qarchak Prison in the Varamin neighbourhood of Tehran. Prison authorities have justified her transfer to a public prison through an arbitrary decision to interpret her existing conviction for “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution” as a non-security related offence. Qarchak is a prison with poor living conditions mainly intended for women accused of violent crimes. Human rights defenders believe the transfer is in retaliation against her work continuing to speak out against human rights violations from prison, and its location on the outskirts of the capital will limit her communication with the outside world.

Sotoudeh continues to suffer from poor health. Since being discharged from Taleghani hospital, where she was previously treated for five days, she has not been provided with the urgent heart examinations and the angiography that doctors had recommended.

14 October 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health deteriorates

On 14 October 2020, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, expressed concern that the imprisoned woman human rights defender was experiencing “grave cardiac and pulmonary problems” since ending her 46 day hunger strike.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was on hunger strike from 10 August to 26 September 2020 in protest against the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Iran. She was hospitalised for five days in late September 2020 only to be returned to prison while still ill and despite the continued high rates of COVID-19 in prisons.

28 September 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh ends hunger strike

On 25 September 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh ended her hunger strike due to her seriously deteriorating condition.  The defender informed her husband, Reza Khandan, by telephone the following day.

On 27 September 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh released a message from Evin prison expressing her gratitude to the global human rights community and all those who joined the call to demand the release of political prisoners in Iran and who denounced the judiciary for flouting its procedures during the pandemic.

The woman human rights defender reminded the Iranian judiciary system of its responsibility to enforce a law ratified on 11 May 2020 by the Iranian parliament to reduce the prison sentences of political prisoners. She also called on the authorities to release all political prisoners as they should not have been imprisoned in the first place. “This has been an opportunity to once again bring the world’s attention to the oppression and injustice Iranian people are enduring,” she declared.

24 September 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh transferred from hospital back to Evin prison

On 23 September 2020, woman human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh was returned to the quarantine ward of the Evin prison after spending five days in Taleghani hospital. Reza Kahandan, the defender’s husband, described Sotoudeh’s health condition as being even worse than when she was admitted to hospital.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh is a woman human rights defender and a lawyer who has legally represented many imprisoned Iranian human rights defenders, as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors. In recent years, she has also represented women arrested for appearing in public without a hijab, a punishable offence in Iran. Nasrin Sotoudeh has been imprisoned multiple times as a result of her human rights work, most recently on 13 June 2018, when she was arrested and sentenced in two different trials to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after being convicted of eight different offences, including "espionage" and “membership of an illegal group”. The latter offence refers to her membership of Legam, an organisation that campaigns to abolish the death penalty in Iran. According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code she will serve only the longest of her sentences, which is 12 years.

On 23 September 2020, after spending five days in the coronary care unit (CCU) of Taleghani hospital, Nasrin Sotoudeh was transferred back to Evin prison, where she will be held in a quarantine ward. The woman human rights defender, who has been on hunger strike since 10 August 2020, was hospitalised on 19 September due to her deteriorating health condition. She showed no signs of recovery prior to her transfer back to prison.

On 22 September 2020 Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband wrote that her family had to wait eight hours a day in the hospital in the hope that they could see her pass in the hallway as she was being transferred between rooms. The family had been repeatedly denied permission to speak with her.

On 20 September 2020, the defender’s husband managed to have a brief conversation with her as she was brought in a wheelchair back from cardiac tests to another area of the hospital. He reported that she was almost entirely unable to move and struggled to speak because she had difficulty breathing. The family has been denied permission to make telephone calls to the CCU and the doctors were reportedly forbidden to report to the family on her situation. There was heavy security throughout the hospital.

On 10 August 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Iran in the context of the pandemic. In a letter outlining the reasons for beginning the hunger strike, she described how COVID-19 has only served to exacerbate the already poor conditions for prisoners in Iran.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about Nasrin Sotoudeh’s deteriorating medical condition while on hunger strike. Front Line Defenders is furthermore concerned that the woman human rights defender’s family have not been allowed appropriate access to visit her and have not been fully informed of her medical condition. It believes that, in her current state, Nasrin Sotoudeh is at serious risk in Evin prison, where she will have reduced access to medical facilities, despite her condition having worsened.

16 September 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health deteriorating

On 16 September 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband announced that the woman human rights defender, who has been on hunger strike since 10 August 2020, has experienced a significant drop in blood sugar level and is suffering from extreme fatigue, headache, dizziness and nausea.

Earlier this week on 14 September 2020, the defender was taken to Evin clinic where she received a salt sugar serum as urgent treatment for a severe drop in blood pressure.

9 September 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh dedicates human rights award to four HRDs facing execution

On 9 September 2020, in a message from Evin prison, Nasrin Sotoudeh who is currently on her 30th day of hunger strike, dedicated her human rights award from the German Judges Association (DRB) to four prisoners facing execution in Iran.

On 2 September 2020, the German Judges Association (DRB) announced that Nasrin Sotoudeh was awarded the Human Rights Prize. The presidents of DRB stated, “with the Human Rights Prize of the German Judges Association, we want to honour her highly impressive commitment in Iran and to bring Sotoudeh’s fate further to the public attention. Especially now she needs particularly wide international support.”

On 10 August 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike to protest the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Iran. On September 1, Reza Khandan, the defender's husband, reported that she had suffered a significant decline in her health on the 21st day of her hunger strike. She has declined to receive medical intervention.

12 August 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh begins hunger strike

On 10 August 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in protest against the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Iran despite the pandemic and the inaction by the authorities in response. In a letter outlining her reasons, she states “As all the prisoners’ communications demanding an answer from the authorities have remained neglected I will start a hunger strike from today.”

In the letter, the woman human rights defender highlights that COVID-19 has only served to exacerbate the already poor conditions for prisoners in Iran. She denounces the fabricated and trumped-up charges issued against human rights defenders, such as espionage, spreading corruption on earth [a broadly defined capital crime in Iran], gathering and colluding against national security, corruption and prostitution, and formation of illegal groups.

The letter also denounces the many issues faced by many human rights defenders when their cases are being legally processed, including being denied legal representation, denied contact with their legal representation from the beginning of the process, the rulings issued by the Revolutionary Court and the tendency of judges to issue their ruling based purely on reports by the intelligence service, sentences given in the early stages of a case or even immediately after the arrest, the arbitrary arrest and detention of lawyers who represent human rights defenders if they are disliked by judges, and the issues the accused then faces when they “helplessly” try to seek justice by appealing their verdict.

The letter is signed, “In search of establishment of justice in my country, Iran, Nasrin Sotoudeh”.

The defender is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence in Evin Prison, where she has been detained since June 2018.

28 July 2020
Nasrin Sotoudeh's bank accounts frozen

On 27 July, woman human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, reported that his wife's bank accounts had been blocked by the Tehran Prosecutor's Office.

Reza Khandan believes this to be the beginning of the seizure of the family's assets. He, along with Nasrin Sotoudeh's lawyer Mahmoud Behzadi, have repeatedly appealed to the legal department of Pasargad Bank, the Evin Prosecutor's Office and the Prosecutor's Office in Tehran, however their efforts have been unsuccessful. Nor have they received any explanation as to why the bank account has been frozen.

Reza Khandan stated: "We consider this action of the Prosecutor's Office an act to put economic pressure on the family, and to inflict financial blows on the family in times of crisis and economic collapse due to inefficiency and inadequacy of the government and governing bodies, and we will not remain silent in the face of this inhumane act."

Nasrin Sotoudeh is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence in Evin Prison, where she has been detained since June 2018.

21 March 2019
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes

On 11 March 2019, woman human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes and was denied access to a copy of the verdict against her. She was only permitted to see the text of the sentence and to note the charges of which she was convicted.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a woman human rights defender and lawyer who represented many human rights defenders opposed to the current regime in Iran. She legally represented women’s rights activists who protested the compulsory veil and also worked extensively with young prisoners sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years of age. She has been held in Evin Prison since she was detained on 13 June 2018.

On 11 March 2019, Nasrin Sotoudeh learned that she had been sentenced to 33 years in jail and 148 lashes by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. She was permitted to briefly call her husband, Reza Khanden, to inform him of the sentence and he subsequently posted the news on Facebook. As a result of a previous sentence of five years for “espionage in hiding” under Article 501 which was handed down to her in 2015, she is now due to serve 38 years in prison.

On 19 March 2019, having been refused a copy of the verdict, Nasrin Sotoudeh took notes on the Revolutionary Court in Tehran’s verdict. She subsequently gave the notes to her husband during a prison visit. According to the notes, the 33 year sentence is an accumulation of seven criminal charges from Iran’s Penal Code.

The human rights defender was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for “assembly and collusion with intention to commit a crime against national security” under Article 610; 1.5 years in prison for “propaganda against the state” under Article 500; 7.5 years in prison for her membership of the ‘Legam’ organization “group against capital punishment’’ under Article 499; 12 years in prison for “encouraging corruption and prostitution” under Article 639; 74 lashes for appearing in public without the hijab under Article 638; 3 years in prison and 74 lashes for “publishing falsehoods with the intention to disturb public opinion” under Article 698; and 2 years in prison for the “disturbing public order” under Article 618.

The judge invoked Article 134 of Iran’s Penal Code, which allows for the most severe sentence possible on each charge if a defendant is found guilty of more than three offences.

On 30 December 2018, in an appeal hearing of the five-year sentence Nasrin Sotoudeh received in 2015 for “espionage in hiding”, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran upheld her sentence. The woman human rights defender told her husband that she did not intend to appeal the latest sentence, fearing that her defence lawyers would suffer retaliation for defending her.

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khanden, has faced judicial harassment in retaliation for publicly communicating about his wife’s case. He was arrested on 4 September 2018 and released on bail on 24 December 2018. In a separate case, on 22 January 2019, Reza Khandan was sentenced in absentia to six years imprisonment and banned from leaving the country or engaging in online activities for two years for peacefully protesting the country’s compulsory hijab law. He remains at risk of re-arrest.

Front Line Defenders condemns the lengthy sentence against human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and the judicial harassment of her husband, Reza Khanden, which it believes is motivated by their legitimate and peaceful defence of human rights in Iran.

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.

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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