400 Women’s Rights Activists Call for Release of Human Rights Lawyer

Defense of Human Rights is not a Crime: Release Nasrin Sotoodeh

Thursday 30 September 2010

Change for Equality: September 24, 2010— A statement signed by over 400 women’s rights activists, has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoodeh. This human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist was arrested on September 4th and remains in solitary confinement.

The text of the statement appears below:

Defense of Human Rights is not a Crime: Release Nasrin Sotoodeh
With the increased pressures the maneuvering room for human rights defenders and human rights lawyers is becoming increasingly constrained. Vivid examples of these pressures include some of the following: the closure and prevention of the activities of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, the repeal of accreditation of lawyers to practice law, the arrest of human rights defenders, the issuance of heavy prison sentences for human rights defenders such as Shiva Nazarahari and the continued imprisonment of human rights lawyers such as Mohammand Oliayaeefar.
This time, Nasrin Sotoodeh, a brave human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist, has been imprisoned. This development is an indication of the worsening situation of lawyers who choose to defend political and social activists. These actions are carried out in an effort to increase the exiting fear and dread associated with continued civil and political activities. It is carried out so, that the defense of civil rights too is recognized as a crime. It is carried out so that lawyers and the clients are both placed in the position of the accused—so that they are both accused of committing crimes which endanger national security.

Nasrin Sotoodeh is a social activist, women’s rights activist, human rights lawyer, children’s rights activist and one of the leading campaigners in the fight to end child executions. This women’s rights activist who is a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, is one of few lawyers committed to justice, who have dedicated their professional lives to the cause of civil rights, to teaching it and to defending it. Their commitment is so great in fact that the defense of human rights has become a part of their daily lives.

Sotoodeh’s main demand in courts and the prosecutor’s office has been the rights of her clients. The consequence of demanding the law, especially given the few laws that safeguard civil liberties, has been her arrest and imprisonment. We, as signatories to this petition, demand the unconditional and immediate release of Nasrin Sotoodeh and other imprisoned human rights lawyers and view their continued detention as illegal.

Read the original statement in Farsi and view the signatures


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