Demand for the Release of Human Rights Lawyer; Nasrin Sotoudeh

Re: Demand for the Release of Human Rights Lawyer; Nasrin Sotoudeh

To: Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei and Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

From: Hugh Gwillim

Date: 2010-09-10

Lawyers’ Rights Watch of Canada (LRWC) demands the immediate and unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh. Ms. Sotoudeh was arrested on 4 September 2010 after her house and office were searched on 28 August and she was summoned to appear in court. She is currently in solitary confinement in Evin prison in Tehran. She is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Nasrin Sotoudeh has not been formally charged. The reasons stated on the summons include suspicion of “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with the aim of harming state security”. She has not yet been granted access to her lawyer. She has not yet been able to see her family. She has two children, aged 10 and three years.

In recent months, Ms. Sotoudeh has been told by authorities that she could face reprisals for her continued advocacy for her clients. Her husband, Reza Khandan, has also received threats that his wife would be arrested if she continued to represent Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Laureate and Iranian lawyer currently in exile.

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”.

Further, LRWC calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that she is protected from torture or other ill-treatment while held, and she is granted immediate access to her family and her lawyer.