Support Nasrin Sotoudeh
Iranian lawyer detained incommunicado for months is condemned in absentia to 33 years of imprisonment and 148 lashes.
March 12th, 2019.
Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is famous for having defended women who had taken off their hijab to protest against the obligation to wear it. Due to her commitment, she received in 2012 the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded by the European Parliament; and, in 2018, the Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights prize.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home on June 13th, 2018; she is detained incommunicado in the Evin prison (Tehran) since then.
On Monday 11th, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh (Head of the 28th branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court) declared to the semi-official news agency Isna that Nasrin Sotoudeh had been condemned to 7 years of imprisonment for “collusion against the system” (5 years) and “insult to the leader” (2 years).
Yet, on the same day, Reza Khandan, Ms Sotoudeh’s husband, declared on Facebook that the lawyer had actually been convicted of seven charges and condemned to 33 years of imprisonment and 148 lashes. This information was transmitted to Nasrin Sotoudeh by the Office for the implementation of sentences of the Evin prison, where she is detained. [...]
Her trial, considered by many organizations as contrary to the international standards of fair trial, was held in her absence. According to her husband, Ms Sotoudeh refused to attend it in order to protest against the limitation in the choice of lawyers decided by the authorities: the latter issued last year a list of 20 state-appointed lawyers, to which persons accused of national security-related crimes must resort.
Ms Sotoudeh was informed of the charges against her after her arrest in June 2018. It is only after having been taken to jail that she learnt she had been condemned in 2015 to 5 years of imprisonment, a decision taken in her absence by judge Moghiseh.
Her recent conviction is just another step in the long repression process suffered by Nasrin Sotoudeh: she had already been imprisoned from 2010 to 2013 for having defended political prisoners. She is forbidden to leave from Iran until 2022.
Her husband, Reza Khandan, was himself condemned in January 2019 to 6 years of imprisonment, notably for having published news about his imprisoned wife on Facebook.
The OIAD expresses its solidarity with Nasrin Sotoudeh and all the Iranian lawyers who are in jail for having legitimately exercised their profession. The OIAD firmly condemns the disproportionate sentence to which Ms Sotoudeh was condemned, and expresses its indignation regarding the recourse to corporal punishment.
Iranian authorities must abide by United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, according to which they must “ensure that lawyers (…) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference” (principle n° 16).
The OIAD calls on Iranian authorities to release Ms Sotoudeh immediately and without condition, and to do the same for Amir Salar Davoodi and all the lawyers who face repression from the regime.