Protest Statement of Over 900 Civil and Women's Rights Activists

We are concerned about the risk to Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health and wellbeing

{{Fair Family Law}}: More than 900 women’s rights defenders, human rights defenders and clients of Nasrin Sotoodeh, lawyer and women’s rights defender, have expressed their urgent concern over her ongoing illegal detention. Nasrin is on hunger strike and the signatories hold the judicial authorities detaining her responsible for her welfare and safety and demand her immediate and unconditional release.

Nasrin Sotoodeh has been detained in solitary confinement in Evin’s Intelligence wing 209 since 4 September 2010. There is growing concern over her deteriorating health. She has been on hunger strike since 25 September and has had no contact with her family in almost a month, leading to alarm and fears for her health and well being. The following is the text of the public statement and the list of its signatories to date:

{{We are concerned about the risk to Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health and wellbeing}}

Everyday, another window is closed for human rights defenders [in Iran]. The Centre for Defenders of Human Rights is shut down; the permit to work for some of the lawyers who courageously and persistently defend human rights is revoked; the lawyers whose only crime is defending and empowering their clients against a judicial superpower are jailed; and other human rights defenders receive long prison sentences.

In the midst of all this, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a courageous and persistent human and women’s rights lawyer, has been detained and jailed since September 4, 2010. She has refused to eat since September 25th and, during this time, there has been no news of her but a short telephone call she made when she announced the news of her hunger strike. Nasrin Sotoudeh is being held incommunicado and the silence around her condition has greatly concerned Nasrin’s husband, children, and us, the women’s and civil rights activists. Lest, like in the case of Narges Mohammadi, imprudence and neglect of some officials has put the health of Nasrin Sotoudeh at risk.

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s only crime is defending human honour and dignity. Her crime is defending children who are sent to jail by the bitter course of their lives. Her crime is defending women and men who committed the offense of trying to turn laws that make people’s lives difficult more just.

The crime of Nasrin Sotoudeh is defending clients who are jailed for their opinions and beliefs. She is strongly committed to the structure of legal and lawful resistance, and defends her clients within the legal framework. The crime of Nasrin Sotoudeh is attempting to spread fairness in the judicial system. Her efforts deserve praise, not punishment.

We, a group of women’s rights and human rights activists as well as Nasrin Sotoudeh’s clients and friend, are gravely concerned about her life, and we hold the judicial officials responsible for her wellbeing and health. Our demand is for the immediate and unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh from the prison.

Translated by Siavash Jalili

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