Prominent Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh Facing Additional Charge For Defending Human Rights
Sotoudeh Now Facing 5-Year Sentence, 4 Additional Charges
Imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been slapped with an additional charge for allegedly receiving a cash prize from the European Parliament six years ago—a human rights award she never physically received, a source close to her told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
In 2012, Sotoudeh was jointly awarded (along with Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi) the EU Parliament’s Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought for peacefully advocating human rights in Iran. But she was never able to physically accept the award or cash prize that comes with it because she was in prison under trumped-up charges at the time it was issued, and because she has not left the country since being freed in 2016.
Sotoudeh is also currently facing a five-year prison sentence and three other charges.
The charges, all national security-related, are for Sotoudeh’s outspoken advocacy of human rights and willingness to take on politically sensitive cases as a defense attorney.
Her most recent imprisonment, which began in June 2018, occurred after she represented a woman facing imprisonment for peacefully protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab law by removing it in public.
Several other human rights lawyers have also been arrested and imprisoned in Iran this year in a widespread crackdown aimed at further limiting defendants’ due process rights.
To protest the unlawful judicial process and denial of the right to choose her own lawyer in her own case, Sotoudeh has refused to appear in court to hear any of the recent charges against her, said the source requested anonymity for security purposes.
She has also sued Iranian authorities for banning her from seeing her children and other family in Evin Prison for the past two months under the pretext of her alleged “improper hijab.”
From 2010-13, she served three years in Evin Prison for peacefully practicing her legal profession. In September 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights Prize for her commitment to human rights and the independence of the legal profession.
In July 2018, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for Sotoudeh’s immediate release.