By Iran Probe Staff
Thursday, 14 June 2018
Human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested at her house in Tehran on Wednesday morning June 13th. Authorities have said she must serve another five year prison. Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, says neither him nor his wife know anything about this sentence.
A dedicated human rights lawyer, Sotoudeh was arrested in the summer of 2010 just for doing her job, defending some of those detained by the government. Her efforts to condemn “death penalty”, in particular, for juvenile offenders was a reason for her arrest. She was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”. She was sentenced to six years in prison but was released in 2013 after receiving a pardon.
International human rights organizations including “Amnesty International” have called for her release. “Nasrin Sotoudeh has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights in Iran. She has won international awards but has also paid a high price for her courage, spending three years in jail. Her arrest today is the latest example of the Iranian authorities’ vindictive attempts to stop her from carrying out her important work as a lawyer.” Said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. He emphasised, “We call on the Iranian authorities to release Nasrin Sotoudeh immediately and unconditionally. Any action short of this must be unreservedly condemned by the international community.”
In recent weeks, Nasrin Sotoudeh has spoken out against the application of a Note to Article 48 of Iran’s 2015 Code of Criminal Procedure. The Note to Article 48 denies individuals facing some offences, including those related to national security, the right to access an independent lawyer of their own choosing during the investigation of their charges. Instead, individuals can only select from a roster of pre-approved lawyers chosen by the Head of the Judiciary. The Head of the Judiciary issued a list with only 20 people pre-approved for Tehran province.
“Permitting only lawyers who are pre-approved to defend individuals accused of ‘security’ offences – who often include human rights defenders – completely undermines the right of detainees to a lawyer of their own choosing,” said Philip Luther.
In 2012, Nasrin Sotoudeh was awarded the Sakharov Prize for her dedication to human rights. Since her release from prison, authorities in Iran judiciary have attempted to limit her work including rejecting many of her requests to represent individuals detained for political reasons. Despite all the hardship and threats Sotoudeh has continued to work as a human rights lawyer