Nasrin Sotoudeh to Continue Hunger Strike Until Daughter’s Travel Ban Lifted
During a visit on October 21, the fifth day of her hunger strike, imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh told her family that she will continue her hunger strike until the travel ban on her young daughter is lifted. According to Sotoudeh’s husband, she appeared frail and weak during the visit and her family is gravely concerned about her health.
Protesting her prison conditions, Nasrin Sotoudeh embarked on a wet hunger strike beginning on Wednesday, October 17. Iranian Judiciary officials have not yet reacted to Sotoudeh’s demands. Nasrin Sotoudeh is objecting to her 12-year-old daughter’s travel ban and summons to court, the authorities’ refusal to allow her visitation with her mother for the past year, and their refusal to allow her in-person visitation with her two young children for the past three months, as well as refusing her the right to make telephone calls from prison.
Asked whether judicial authorities have had any meetings with Sotoudeh since she started her hunger strike, her husband Reza Khandan told the Campaign, “Several officials from different organizations have talked to her, but nothing serious has happened to lead to her ending her hunger strike. Nasrin has demands, the most important one of which is for the pressure to be lifted from her family, particularly our 12-year-old daughter who has been banned from foreign travel.”
Regarding her physical condition, Khandan told the Campaign, “Yesterday [Sunday, October 21], when Nasrin came to the visit, she appeared very thin and weak, to the point that we were all shocked. She appeared a lot more frail after five days of hunger strike, as compared to two years ago, when she was on a hunger strike for 28 days. The reason for this is quite clear. She has lost her strength over the past two years in prison and she no longer has the strength for a hunger strike. I am seriously worried for her since I saw her yesterday. No matter how hard I tried to talk her out of the hunger strike, Nasrin had no interest in breaking it.”
Khandan said Sotoudeh’s family visitation day has also changed. “Nasrin visited with her family on Sunday, like all the other women prisoners at Evin. Of course we don’t know whether this is a permanent change or it was just for this week. I went to the prison yesterday morning and I told them that because of my daughter’s school requirements, she can no longer come to visit with her mother on Wednesdays, and they told me that we have our visitation today, just like others. Nevertheless, Nasrin said that the problem with our visitation day is a secondary problem, and that her first issue is that she wishes the pressure on her family to be lifted,” Khandan said.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer and human rights activist, was arrested on September 4, 2010, and was later sentenced to 11 years in prison, 20 years’ ban on her legal practice, and 20 years’ ban on foreign travel. An appeals court later reduced her prison sentence to 6 years in prison and the ban on legal practice to 10 years. Since her arrest, she has embarked on wet and dry hunger strikes several times to protest her illegal treatment in prison.