We are seeking justice for Nasrin Sotoudeh

Experts Write Letter in Support of Jailed Human Rights Lawyer

Tuesday 8 February 2011

CHRR: The following is a letter written by a group of experts in the field of international human rights to Iran’s Head of Judiciary, in support of imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The letter expresses deep concern over the well-being of Nasrin Sotoudeh and the heavy prison sentence issued to her.

His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani

Head of the Judiciary

Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

We have the honor to write to you with our great respect for the decisive work of the Iranian Judiciary to bring to your attention the situation of Mrs. Nasrin Sotoudeh.

We have become aware that Mrs. Sotoudeh has recently been sentenced by judge Pirabassi of the Revolutionary Court Branch number 26 to eleven years of imprisonment and is banned from practicing law and leaving the country for 20 years. We know that she is presenting an appeal to this decision. Meanwhile she is in Evin prison with very restrained possibilities to meet her family and her little son and daughter. We are very worried that her health seems to be in a critical state in consequence of her hunger strike.

We know Mrs. Sotoudeh is a well-respected lawyer committed to human rights and children’s rights and has dedicated her life to such noble causes. In our different mandates we became acquainted with the devoted work of Mrs. Sotoudeh on behalf of Iranian children and adolescents.

It would be most regrettable that her engagement on behalf of the well being of children would be punished harshly by the Iranian judiciary when we know that the respect for human rights is part of the Iranian constitution and a most relevant part of the Iranian history and of Islam.

We would be extremely thankful if you could ensure that the case of Mrs. Nasrin Sotoudeh is properly reviewed and that due process and merciful treatment will be ensured and that her humanitarian conditions are being taken into consideration. We sincerely hope that the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran ensures justice for citizens who dedicate their life to proudly serve your country and the Iranian nation by promoting a respectful and lawful defense of human rights in the country.

We send to you our best wishes in your so relevant endeavors and we would be most thankful for your consideration and action on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Manfred Nowak Professor for International Human Rights Protection, University of Vienna Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Dr. Pregs Govender Deputy Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission

Dr. Vitit Muntharborn Former UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Dr. Catarina de Albuquerque Lawyer and Professor of Human Rights Law, Portugal

Dr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro Former UN Independent Expert for the study on violence against children and Commissioner and Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, IACHR, OAS

With copy to:

His Excellency

Ali Akbar Salehi

Minister of Foreign Affairs


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