Nasrin Sotoodeh on Dry Hunger Strike Her Health in Imminent Danger

Friday 5 November 2010

Change for Equality: Nasrin Sotoodeh, the imprisoned human rights lawyer, has been on a dry hunger strike since Sunday October 31. According to reports her health is not good.

According to reports by Radio Farda, Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoodeh’s husband has reported that his wife has gone on a dry hunger strike, refusing to drink even water or liquids, in protest to her situation in prison and lack of observance of her legal rights by officials of the Islamic Republic.

According to reports, Sotoodeh was allowed a visit with her children, her sister and her mother-in-law on November 4, 2010. She informed her family members about her hunger strike during this visit. According to reports, Sotoodeh’s children were very upset and depressed after seeing their mother, who did not look well and who had lost a considerable amount of weight.

Nasrin Sotoodeh serves as the lawyer representing a number of political activists as well as women’s rights activists. She was arrested on September 4 after she was summoned to the prosecutors office in Evin Prison in Tehran. She had gone on hunger strike on September 24, to protest her situation in prison, including lack of legal rights and threats, but broke her hunger strike after 27 days, based on pleas made by her family and social and political activists.

According to Reza Khandan, despite a visit to Evin Prison by the Tehran Prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi on Wednesday, no action has been taken by officials to address the situation of Nasrin. It had earlier been reported that Dowlatabadi had visited Evin prison and met with a number of prisoners during the visit including Nasrin Sotoodeh.

It is believed that Sotoodeh is being held in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin prison managed by the Intelligence Ministry. Sotoodeh’s fater passed away while she was in detention. Despite having posted bail, prison and court officials refused to allow her temporary leave to attend his funeral. Her telephone contact with her family has been minimal since her arrest and she has been allowed only two visits with her family members since her detention, but has not been allowed to see her husband. Reza Khandan has been threatened by officials about conducting interviews with the press on the situation of his wife and has been warned not to publicize her situation.

It should also be noted that Sotoodeh is a colleague of Shirin Ebadi at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and also served as one of Ebadi’s lawyers. The members of the Defenders of Human Rights Center have come under extreme pressure since the disputed presidential elections, and several have been arrested, including lawyers Mohammad Dadkhah and Abdulfattah Soltani, who have been released since and journalist Abdulreza Tajik, who remains in prison. A few days ago, Mohammad Seifzadeh, who is a co-founder of the DHRC was sentenced to 9 years prison term for establishing the Center.

In other alarming news, Rahana, a human rights group, has reported that telephone contact from the women’s ward inside Evin has been cut off since November 3, 2010. According to Daneshjoo News, telephones in the men’s Ward 350 at Evin, where most political prisoners are housed, have also been cut off for some time. As such political prisoners currently imprisoned in the public wards of Evin prison do not have the capacity to contact the outside.


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