Nobel Women call on Iranian authorities to act now: release Nasrin Sotoudeh
The Nobel Women’s Initiative released a statement today in support of Nasrin Sotoudeh. The statement calls for Sotoudeh’s release from the Evin prison in Iran and expresses deep concern that Sotoudeh could be close to death after more than one month since the beginning of her current hunger strike. The Nobel Peace Laureates were adament that Sotoudeh be released immediately, before it is too late.
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Human rights activist, lawyer and recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in 2010 for her work as a human rights activist and sentenced to six years in Evin prison. Since Sotoudeh’s imprisonment, the Evin prison authorities have subjected her to lengthy and recurring periods of solitary confinement and have restricted her access to communicating with her family. Iran has also imposed a travel ban on Sotoudeh’s husband and daughter in addition to other means of harassment and intimidation. Sotoudeh has been on a hunger strike since 17 October 2012 in protest of these illegal restrictions and the harassment of her family. In addition, Sotoudeh has now been illegally transferred to a maximum-security block belonging to Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. All access to Sotoudeh has now been cut off and her whereabouts are unknown.
Nasrin Sotoudeh has not been alone in her hunger strike. On 30 October 2012, Evin prison’s female guards conducted an unannounced search of the prison’s female ward that included insults, beatings, body searches and the confiscation of personal possessions. In response, nine female prisoners embarked on a hunger strike in protest of these attacks, calling for a formal apology from the prison authorities and a guarantee that their human rights are respected. Recently, eight of the nine women prisoners have now ended hunger strikes, citing health concerns. Nasrin Sotoudeh continues her hunger strike, despite the concerns of her family and the international community for her health.
In the statement, The Nobel Women’s Initiative called on the authorities of Iran to release Nasrin Sotoudeh and other prisoners of conscience immediately. The Nobel Women’s Initiative also called on the Iranian authorities to respect the rights of all prisoners and to respect the rights of its citizens to freedom of assembly, expression and association.
Read the full text of the statement below.
Join the Facebook group to learn about further actions to support Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Iran: Female detainees begin hunger strike after degrading treatment, Amnesty International, 01 November 2012.
Iran: Political Prisoners Denied Visits, Care, Human Rights Watch, 31 October 2012.
If My Friend Dies, What Will Happen to Her Children?, The Huffington Post, 08 November 2012.
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative calls on the Iranian authorities to release Nasrin Sotoudeh and other prisoners of conscience immediately. As Nobel Peace Laureates, we are deeply concerned with Sotoudeh’s health and wellbeing, more than one month into Sotoudeh’s current hunger strike. We are deeply concerned that Sotoudeh could be close to death; we call on the Iranian authorities to act now before it is too late.
Lawyer and recipient of the Sakhorov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Nasrin Sotoudeh was imprisoned for her work as a human rights activist in Iran. Since her arrest in 2010, the Evin prison authorities have subjected Sotoudeh to lengthy and recurring periods of solitary confinement as well as restricting her access to communications with her family. Sotoudeh has undertaken several hunger strikes over the course of her imprisonment in protest of her treatment. In an effort to intimidate Sotoudeh’s family, the Iranian state recently filed a criminal case against Nasrin’s daughter and imposed a travel ban on Sotoudeh’s husband and 13-year old daughter. Since 17 October 2012, Sotoudeh’s current hunger strike is in protest of the treatment of her family.
Sotoudeh’s circumstances are all too common. The denial of visitation rights, inadequate access to health care along with the denial of the right to legal counsel is commonplace among Sotoudeh’s 33 fellow female prisoners. A recent report of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran further observed the general pattern of Iran’s harassment of its imprisoned activists that includes rape, mock executions and sleep deprivation. The Nobel Women’s Initiative further calls on the Iranian authorities to respect the rights of all prisoners and to respect the rights of its citizens to freedom of assembly, expression and association.