(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the arrest of a prominent writer, journalist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who has been imprisoned since 4 September 2010. PEN International is concerned for her safety and well-being in detention. It considers that she is targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.
According to PEN's information, lawyer, journalist and writer Nasrin Sotoudeh, aged 47 and a mother for two young children, was arrested on 4 September when she was summoned to the special court in Evin prison on charges of "propaganda against the state", "cooperating with the Association of Human Rights Defenders" and "conspiracy to disturb order". The arrest followed a raid on her home and office by security officers on 29 August 2010, who confiscated her files and documents. She is believed to be charged for her human rights work and writing. Her lawyer was not allowed to represent her in court or accompany her client during questioning. She remains detained in solitary confinement at Tehran's Evin Prison, where she has been on hunger strike for much of the time since her arrest and concerns for her welfare are mounting. Her trial was scheduled to begin on 16 November 2010 but is reported to have been postponed.
Since her arrest Nasrin Soutadeh has been allowed very limited access to her family, in violation of the Iranian Penal Code which guarantees the right to weekly visits and receive phone calls from relatives.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is best known as a human rights lawyer and activist, but has also worked as a journalist for several reformist newspapers including Jame'e. Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2003, she has specialised in women's and children's rights, and has continued to write articles on these issues. Many of her articles have been rejected for publication, including a report written for a special issue of Daricheh on women's rights for the occasion of 8 March (Women's Day) earlier this year. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in August 2006 by several leading Iranian women activists ( http://www.iranianfeministschool.org/english/spip.php?rubrique3 ), and the widespread growth of the women's rights movement in Iran, she has represented many women's rights activists including Parvin Ardalan, a well-known PEN case. She is a close associate of exiled lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and has represented many imprisoned Iranian opposition activists arrested in the unprecedented crackdown on dissent following the disputed presidential elections of 12 June 2009. Arrests are continuing, and many have been handed down lengthy sentences.
Below are some of Nasrin's articles in English translation:
Please send appeals:
- Protesting the arrest and continuous detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh solely for her critical writings and peaceful activism;
- Calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
- Ensuring that she has full access to family visits, legal representation and any necessary medical care whilst detained.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: [email protected] , [email protected]
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
Email: [email protected]
via website: www.president.ir/email
If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.