Nasrin Sotoudeh has defended many high profile human rights campaigners and political activists. Over the past few months, both her and her husband have been receiving warnings that continued advocacy for her clients would result in reprisals and a risk of arrest. In one specific example, she received a phone call about 4 months ago warning that if she did not withdraw from Shirin Ebadi’s defence (an Iranian Nobel laureate who has campaigned for democracy and human rights, particularly for women and children) she would “get into trouble”.
On August 28th 2010, Sotoudeh’s house and office were searched and she was summoned to appear in court. She was not formally charged, but the reasons stated on her summons included suspicion of propaganda against the system, and gathering and colluding with the aim of harming state security.
On September 4th, 2010 Sotoudeh presented herself in compliance with the court summons and was arrested.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is currently in solitary confinement in Evin prison in Tehran and has not been granted access to her lawyer or her family. She has been granted three phone calls, two to her home, and one to her lawyer.
Since her arrest, her husband and lawyer have been warned against speaking publicly about her ordeal.
LRWC and Amnesty International consider her to be a prisoner of conscience who is at risk of torture and of other ill treatment.
LRWC calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to abide by the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers which states that lawyers must be allowed to carry out their work “without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference”. It also expressly recognizes that lawyers are entitled to freedom of expression, which includes “the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights”.
LRWC calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that she is protected from torture or other ill treatment while held, and that she be granted immediate access to her family and her lawyer.
On September 28th, more than 420 civil activists signed a petition demanding the unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh. (source: http://www.eurasiareview.com/201009278580/iran-420-activists-call-for-unconditional-release-of-nasrin-sotoudeh.html )
October 1st, 2010 Dr. Shirin Ebadi, and eight other organizations (namely, Amnesty International, Human Right’s Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the Interested Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI), the Union Internationale des Avocats, and the World Organisation Against Torture) condemned the continued detention of Sotoudeh and called for her immediate release.
Letter written September 10, 2010 by Hugh Gwillim.