PEN International is seriously concerned for the health of prominent writer, journalist, and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is said to be very weak as a result of a hunger strike. Nasrin Sotoudeh is serving a six-year prison sentence for her criticism of the government and defense of human rights. PEN protests her detention, and demands her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. It further demands that all restrictions against her family are immediately lifted, and her full visitation rights restored as a matter of urgency. 

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Nasrin Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike on October 17, 2012, to protest her prison conditions and restrictions placed on her family, in particular a travel ban placed on her 12-year-old daughter. Her health is rapidly deteriorating and concerns for her welfare are mounting.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4, 2010, and sentenced to 11 years in prison, reduced to six years on appeal, on charges of "propaganda against the regime," "acting against national security," and "violating the Islamic dress code (Hijab) in a filmed speech." She was also banned from practicing law for 10 years. The charges against Sotoudeh stem from critical interviews she gave to overseas media following the disputed June 2009 presidential elections, and for her membership in the Center for Human Rights Defenders.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, 49, a mother of two young children ages six and 12, has been held Tehran’s Evin Prison since her arrest, for much of the time in solitary confinement. In the two years that she has been behind bars she has been allowed very limited access to her family in violation of the Iranian Penal Code, and has staged several hunger strikes to protest her illegal treatment in prison. Her health has been significantly weakened as a result, and her life is now believed to be at risk.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is best known as a human rights lawyer and activist, but has also worked as a journalist for several reformist newspapers including Jame'e. Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2003, she has specialized in women’s and children's rights, and has continued to write articles on these issues. Many of her articles have been rejected for publication, including a report written for a special issue of Daricheh on women’s rights for the occasion of International Women’s Day in 2010. Following the August 2006 launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws by several leading Iranian women activists, and the widespread growth of the women's rights movement in Iran, she has represented many women's rights activists including Parvin Ardalan. She is a close associate of exiled lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, and has represented many imprisoned Iranian opposition activists arrested in the unprecedented crackdown on dissent following the disputed presidential elections of June 12, 2009

Write A Letter

  • Expressing serious concerns for the safety of writer, journalist, and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose health is rapidly deteriorating as a result of a hunger strike;
  • Protesting the restrictions placed on her family and the denial of full visitation rights;
  • Calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh
(Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave.,
south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: (Via Foreign Ministry) +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible.