Iranian lawyer on hunger strike: Unprotected in custody

Iranian lawyer on hunger strike: Unprotected in custody

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh calls for the release of political prisoners in Iran. There is no protection against corona in custody.

Iranian human rights activist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike since August 12th. Your life is in danger. Numerous human rights organizations have called for their immediate release in the past few days.

After studying law, Sotoudeh, born in Tehran in 1963, first worked as a journalist, writing in particular about women’s rights for reform-oriented newspapers. It was only seven years after completing her studies that she was admitted to practice as a lawyer.

Since then, she has been defending members of the opposition, especially underage prisoners. She is also committed to women’s and children’s rights early on. She is one of the initiators of the “1 million signatures” campaign, which calls for equal rights for men and women in the Islamic Republic.

In September 2010 Sotoudeh was arrested for her involvement in the protests against the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to her husband Resa Khandan, a revolutionary court sentenced her to eleven years’ imprisonment and a 20-year professional ban for “fighting against national security, propaganda against the Islamic state order, membership in the association for the defense of human rights and violating the Islamic dress code”.

A month after President Hassan Rouhani took office in August 2013, she was released early from prison. Sotoudeh was arrested again in June 2018 for defending two women who had demonstratively removed their headscarves in public in protest of Islamic dress codes.

She has been charged with inciting rioting, spreading false news and insulting the government. She was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes by a revolutionary court.

Sotoudeh is the mother of two children. With her hunger strike, she is demanding the release of all political prisoners in the country. Because, according to a report by the BBC, there are hardly any opportunities for prisoners to protect themselves from being infected with the coronavirus in Iranian prisons. The inmates are not even able to get a mask.

In the wards of political prisoners, infected people are not separated from healthy people. The hygienic regulations are not observed. Justice chief Ebrahim Raisi had announced that all prisoners at risk would be given leave of absence. But that does not seem to apply to political prisoners.

Sotoudeh writes that they are being denied the right to prison leave. Several inmates have joined their demands and are also on hunger strike.

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