The undersigned organizations urge you to take concrete and urgent action in the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh, prominent and well-known lawyer and human rights defender.
On Sunday, 29 October, the media broke the news that she had been arrested while attending the funeral of Armita Garavand, the 16-year-old girl who died ager 28 days in a coma following her arrest by the infamous Morality Police in the Tehran metro.
She was taken along with other arrested women to the Vozara detention centre, the same one in which Mahsa Amini died last year. She was scheduled to be heard in her case on Monday, 30 October, at Evin prison, but was not brought to court because she refused to wear a veil.
She was then taken to Qarchak prison, known for its poor conditions of detention, and is currently on a hunger strike in protest, refusing both essential medication for her health and visits.
The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally free Nasrin Sotoudeh, drop all charges against her and stop persecuting her for her efforts to protect, inter alia, women from discrimination and humiliation to which they are subjected in contravention of the principle of civilization enshrined in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by Iran in 1948, according to which ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ where dignity comes even before rights.
Likewise, the international community, including the EU given its ongoing dialogue with Iran, must condemn all forms of violence, including executions, discrimination and persecution, recognizing the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, expression, assembly and association, as well as the right to a fair trial, as foundations of civilized living.
We Colleagues, Magistrates, NGOs and civil society are united and resolute in denouncing these violations of fundamental rights and freedoms and support human rights defenders. We no longer need martyrs to mourn, but heroes whose examples are to be followed.
We request a concrete statement from you, a decisive commitment to end the judicial harassment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, recalling the tenets of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers on the therein enshrined States’ responsibility.
If we do not defend human rights defenders, who will defend human rights?
We thank you for your attention and we look forward to your urgent and effective intervention.