Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been banned from having visitations with her family for three weeks. Expressing surprise over the punishment, her husband, Reza Khandan, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “This week we went to Evin Prison as usual on Sunday. After we wrote our names on the visitation list, a prison officer told us that she is banned from having visitors for three weeks, because she refused to wear a chador inside the prison.”
Khandan told the Campaign that his wife has been wearing a complete Islamic hejab without a chador inside the prison for the past 14 months. “There are no laws that require female prisoners to wear the chador. No prisoners, male or female, are required to wear a particular kind of clothes. They are all allowed to come to visitation with their own clothes. Ms. Sotoudeh’s hejab is always complete, but she does not wear a chador. During the last visit, she came without a chador, as usual. I don’t really know what happened. Whatever it was, they said she is barred from having visitors for three weeks because of her refusal to wear a chador,” said Khandan.
“Ms. Sotoudeh believes that prison authorities have illegally forced the chador on female inmates, on top of their regular covering and hejab. She believes that this mandatory hejab is illegal and nowhere in the laws is there such a requirement. According to the law, political prisoners are even exempt from wearing a prison uniform. But since last May, when Ms. Sotoudeh was transferred to the General Ward, this is the second time they are causing friction with her over forced chador,” continued Khandan.
“The is a two-sided punishment. When they want to punish a prisoner for whatever reason, they must separate the prisoner’s family from it. By cutting off her visitation for three weeks, the family was hurt, too, especially the children. We were barred from visitation for three weeks while hospital phones have been cut off. We won’t have any news of her for another three weeks,” added Khandan.