The Nobel Women’s Initiative—led by Nobel peace laureates Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Jody Williams—calls on the international community to press the government of Iran to permanently and unconditionally release from prison acclaimed human rights attorney and activist Nasrin Sotoudeh. We further call for all of the bogus and unwarranted charges against Nasrin to be immediately dropped, and for the harassment of her and her family to cease.
Nasrin Sotoudeh has spent her life speaking truth to power at enormous personal cost. She has long fought for the rights of women, children, religious minorities, artists, journalists, and those facing the death penalty. Nasrin is the recipient of the PEN America Freedom to Write Award, the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, The European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and the 2020 Right Livelihood Award, among other honors.
The mother of two children, Nasrin served an earlier unjust term in prison from 2010 – 2013. Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi called Nasrin “the lawyer so many of us human rights defenders would call when the government harassed us or put one of us or one of our family members in jail.” In June 2018, Nasrin was arrested in part for supporting women who publicly removed their headscarves to protest Iran’s mandatory hijab laws. She also protested the ruling that forced human rights activists to only have access to a small group of government-approved lawyers. For this work, Nasrin was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
In August 2020 Nasrin began a 46-day hunger strike calling for the release of political prisoners from Iran’s Covid-19 ravaged prisons. Although suffering from a heart condition, she was transferred to one of Iran’s most unsafe prisons where contracted Covid-19. She was freed on temporary medical leave on November 7. In a statement after her release, Nasrin said, “Every day that I spend out of prison, I am waiting to hear the news of the release of all political prisoners.” On December 2, Iranian authorities returned Nasrin to prison.
It is time to permanently and unconditionally release Nasrin and immediately drop all charges against her.
Nasrin Sotoudeh: Iran human rights lawyer ordered back to jail, AlJazeera, 2 December, 2020.
Meet Nasrin Sotoudeh, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 29 November, 2018.
Sign Now: Iran Must Release Nasrin Sotoudeh – PEN America
Free Nasrin Sotoudeh Now – Amnesty International