Freedom House Joins Shirin Ebadi’s Call for the Release of Iranian Political Prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh
Freedom House today expresses solidarity and support for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and other women’s rights activists who are holding a sit-in at the United Nations in Geneva to demand the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.
The sit-in, which began today and is led by Ebadi, calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to address the Iranian regime’s imprisonment of journalists and human rights defenders, and highlights the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh. Ms. Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and colleague of Ebadi, has been held in Evin prison since September 4. She is accused of distributing anti-state propaganda and conspiracy to commit crimes against national security and was tried in November, though no sentence has been issued. She was initially placed in solitary confinement and has been interrogated under duress. Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike three times to protest her mistreatment, totaling more than 60 days out of the 106 she has been in prison. Just last week, the regime added another charge: “not observing Islamic dress code,” referencing an interview with foreign media in 2008.
“The human rights abuses inflicted on its people by the Iranian government, particularly on women, are in direct violation of international human rights treaties to which Iran is a state party,” said Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy at Freedom House. “Freedom House joins Shirin Ebadi and others in their call for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to speak up on behalf of Nasrin Sotoudeh and the other human rights defenders languishing in Iranian prisons.”
Sotoudeh has defended Shirin Ebadi in numerous cases and has also represented many other human rights activists since the fraudulent June 2009 election. Her case is one of many recent attacks on human rights lawyers by the Iranian regime. Although the regime denies holding any political prisoners, human rights groups have been able to identify at least 1,000 to date.
Iran is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
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