Joint statement on Nasrin Sotoudeh
Alongside 26 Bar Associations, Law Societies, and organisations supporting the legal profession of over 14 countries, Lawyers for Lawyers stands in solidarity with our Iranian colleague Nasrin Sotoudeh and other lawyers in Iran who are being persecuted by their Government for carrying out their profession diligently and in accordance with the law.
The repeated legal proceedings brought against Ms Sotoudeh constitute judicial harassment and are in clear violation of Iran’s international legal obligations. It is evident that Nasrin Sotoudeh is being punished by Iranian authorities for carrying out her legitimate professional duties, in particular as a legal representative of women’s rights defenders, religious minorities, and minors at risk of receiving the death penalty. The actions taken against Nasrin Sotoudeh also deprive her clients of their right to access justice in Iran.
Earlier this year, the Islamic Republic of Iran temporary released thousands of prisoners due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Overcrowding, lack of medical attention, and unsanitary prison conditions put prisoners at greater risk of contracting the virus. However, many human rights defenders and lawyers in Iran were excluded from such release and remain in detention. Ms. Sotoudeh began a hunger strike on 11 August 2020 in Evin prison to call for the release of prisoners held for political motives at risk of catching Covid-19. She was hospitalised due to her deteriorating health condition on 19 September 2020 and sent back to Evin prison on 23 September 2020 where she did not receive appropriate medical care. She ended her hunger strike on 25 September 2020 and was subsequently transferred to Qarchak prison on 20 October 2020. On 7 November 2020, she was temporarily released on house arrest on medical grounds. She has been suffering from low blood pressure, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and rapid weight loss and seems to have contracted Covid-19 in prison. On 1 December 2020, Nasrin was sent back to Qarchak prison.
We call on the authorities in Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Nasrin Sotoudeh and withdraw all charges against her, vacate any convictions and sentences imposed on her, and put an end to all acts of harassment against her, an comply with Iran’s international obligations to ensure that members of the legal profession can carry out their professional functions without harassment and improper interference, including judicial harassment.
Read the full statement here.
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