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Nasrin Sotoudeh

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Iran: Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, detained

June 14th, 2018

The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (hereafter “OIAD”) denounces the arrest and the detention of the Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Prominent human rights lawyer in Iran, Sotoudeh is particularly known for defending several women arrested for having removed their headscarf in public, in protest against its mandatory wearing since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

For her work in the defense of human rights, Sotoudeh was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament in 2012.

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Because of her actions, the Iranian authorities have tried to limit her work. In 2010, Sotoudeh was sentenced to six years in charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”. She was also forbidden to exercise her profession for three years. During her detention, she observed two hunger strikes to protest the travel ban imposed on her son and daughter and her conditions of detention.

Although she was released in September 2013, she is forbidden to leave Iran until 2022.

On June 13, 2018, Sotoudeh was arrested at her home and transferred to Evin Prison. She was then told that she had to serve a five-year prison sentence of which she was totally unaware.

The arrest follows the adoption of a list of 20 pre-approved lawyers who will be allowed to represent detainees charged with national-security crimes. Sotoudeh has repeatedly spoken out against this list in that it would completely deny the right to defense to Iranian political prisoners.

OIAD calls on the Iranian authorities to respect the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the United Nations in Havana in 1990, which provides, inter alia, that:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.” Principle 16.

The Observatory urges the Iranian authority to release immediately and unconditionally Nasrin Sotoudeh.

The Observatory calls on the Iranian authorities to make every effort to guarantee that Nasri Sotoudeh is able to perform her professional duties freely and independently, ending any form of intimidation or harassment against her or her family.