Posted by: bahareiran | November 5, 2010

Life of Jailed Human Rights Lawyer at Great Risk

UN High Commissioner Should Intervene Immediately/ Family in Anguish over the Health of Hunger Striking Lawyer

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 4 November 2010

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, should immediately intervene with Iranian authorities to ensure the physical well being of detained human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. On Sunday, 31 October, Sotoudeh, one of Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyers went on a dry hunger strike protesting her detention and ill treatment inside Tehran’s Evin prison. Her family reported that her health is quickly deteriorating.

“As High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay has a duty to come to the aid of embattled human rights defenders,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign. “Her failure to respond to systematic persecution and prosecution of human rights lawyers, including Sotoudeh, would be cause for concern.”

Sotoudeh has been in detention since 4 September. Authorities have denied her contact with her lawyer and restricted family visits. Reza Khandan, her husband, told the Campaign that her two young children, three and eleven years old, managed to visit her for the first time today, to find her in seriously grave health. Khandan himself has been denied any visits, while Sotoudeh’s mother and sister accompanied her children to see her today and confirmed she is in bad health.

“She is in a terrible state. The kids cried and left the prison, struck with sadness. She has lost a lot of weight. Her skin has darkened, and she was too weak to hug the kids,” said Khandan. Sotoudeh, who has defended Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and numerous other human rights activists, was arrested on 4 September 2010, and has been held in solitary confinement as she awaits trial on charges of “acting against national security,” “congregation and collusion with intent to disrupt national security,” and “cooperation with the Center for Human Rights Defenders.”

Her trial is scheduled to start on 15 November. Colleagues have received reports that Sotoudeh has been tortured in order to coerce a confession. Sotoudeh’s case is part of a string of arrests and prosecutions of human rights lawyers in Iran, including those of Mohammad Oliaifard, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Abdolfattah Soltani, Giti Pourfazel, and Mohammad Seifzadeh.


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