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Iran: A race against death for Nasrin Sotoudeh

The fight goes on: Nasrin Sotoudeh has been held at Tehran's Evin prison since early September on charges including "acting against national security" and cooperation with Shirin Ebadi's Defenders for Human Rights Center.

Human rights lawyer and free speech defender Nasrin Sotoudeh has now been held for more than 100 days in Iran. She began her third hunger strike last week and is resolved to continue it until the end, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel peace laureate and president of the Tehran-based Centre for Human Rights Defenders, Jean-François Julliard, secretary-general of RSF, and François Cantier, president of Lawyers Without Borders France, appeal for the release of this lawyer who has defended many prisoners of conscience in the Iranian courts with determination.

RSF said it was very concerned that the Islamic Republic of Iran is now targeting lawyers, who are needed by the many prisoners of conscience. More and more journalists and bloggers are being prosecuted while the conditions in which they are held keep on getting worse.

They said in a statement:

Nasrin Sotoudeh is guilty three times over in the mullah-led regime’s eyes. Guilty of being a woman of conviction. Guilty of being a human rights lawyer. And guilty of daring to speak out against the regime.

Courageous and uncompromising, she has always been ready to defend intellectuals, journalists, bloggers, women’s rights activists and those who represent ethnic or religious minorities. She took up the cause of all those who were the victims of repression for protesting after the June 2009 election. One of the pillars of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, she again risked her freedom when the regime tried to target the family and associates of fellow human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi.

Nasrin Sotoudeh has been detained in Tehran’s terrible Evin prison since 5 September. Held in solitary confinement, repeatedly denied visits, constantly watched by five guards, she has been defying her humiliation by staging hunger strikes.

Her struggle is our struggle. The international community and its citizens must react. The Iranian regime is trying to crush a voice that it fears. Its attempt to reduce Nasrin Sotoudeh to silence obliges us to take up the challenge of a race against death. Freedom must triumph. No repression, no imprisonment can hold back a young, emerging civil society, of which Nasrin Sotoudeh is a spokesperson. Let us join our voices with hers. Nasrin Sotoudeh must live and be free.

Date posted: December 19, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 153