Nasrin Sotoudeh Back in Iranian Prison

Photo Courtesy of Amnesty International

On December 2, after just three weeks of temporary release, renowned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was ordered to return to Shahr-e-Ray “Gharchak” prison by Iranian authorities according to a public appeal by Jackie Hansen Gender Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada. “She is serving a cruel and unjust sentence of 148 lashes and 38 years simply for defending women’s rights,” says Hansen.

She was temporarily released on November 7 because of her deteriorating health. Within days, she was diagnosed with COVID-19, on top of existing health issues. “Nasrin was not ‘free’ — she didn’t know if or when she would be sent back to prison. And because she had COVID-19, she was isolated and unable to even hug her children,” says Hansen. Just before authorities ordered her back to prison, a medical examiner informed Nasrin that she was still sick and contagious with COVID-19.

Nasrin is one of Iran’s foremost human rights activists. She has steadfastly advocated for justice and equality, including serving as legal counsel for women peacefully protesting for the right to decide whether or not to wear the hijab (veil). Her conviction is directly related to her work as a women human rights defender.

“Her release should have been permanent. Instead, she’s been forced to return to Gharchak prison, a defunct chicken farm that holds several hundred women in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions. The facility has no access to safe drinkable water, decent food, medicine, or fresh air,” says Hansen. 

More than a million people in more than 200 countries and territories have spoken up in defense of Nasrin since she was first imprisoned. Each signature, demanding Nasrin’s immediate and unconditional release, represents someone who is outraged by her cruel sentence and is willing to demand her freedom.

Support the Amnesty International Campaign to Free Nasrin

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