Prominent Human Rights Lawyer, Journalist, and Writer Arrested, Fears for Safety
PEN International protests the arrest of prominent writer, journalist, and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been imprisoned since September 4, 2010. PEN is concerned for her safety and well-being in detention. It believes that she is being targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.
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According to PEN’s information, lawyer, journalist and writer Nasrin Sotoudeh, 47, was arrested on September 4, 2010, when she was summoned to the special court in Evin prison on charges of "propaganda against the state," "cooperating with the Association of Human Rights Defenders," and "conspiracy to disturb order." Her arrest followed an August 29, 2010, raid on her home and office by security officers who confiscated her files and documents. It is believed that she is being targeted for her human rights work and writing. Sotoudeh's lawyer was not allowed to represent her in court or to accompany her during questioning. Sotoudeh remains detained in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin Prison, where she has been on hunger strike for much of the time since her arrest, and there are mounting concerns for her welfare. Her trial was scheduled to begin on November 16, 2010, but is reported to have been postponed.
Since her arrest Nasrin Sotoudeh has been allowed very limited access to her family, including her two young children, in direct violation of the Iranian Penal Code, which guarantees the right to weekly visits and to receive phone calls from relatives.
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 multiple 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 to commemorate Women’s Day (March 8) earlier this year. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in August 2006 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, a well-known PEN case. 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 on June 12, 2009. Arrests are continuing, and many of those arrested have received lengthy sentences.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the arrest and continued detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh solely for her critical writings and peaceful activism;
- 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;
- Ensuring that she has full access to family visits, legal representation and any necessary medical care while detained.
Send Your Letter To
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
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
Islamic Republic of Iran
WITH COPIES TO...
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: (Via Foreign Ministry) +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
Or email via the presidency's web site
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible.
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after December 12, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org