Ms. Sotoudeh is no stranger to arbitrary arrest. Her staunch defense of political dissidents — including Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi — has long made her a target for Iranian security forces. She was arrested in 2010 on an absurd charge of threatening to overthrow the government. She served three years in Evin Prison, some of that time in solitary confinement, but was pardoned in 2013 when Mr. Rouhani released a number of political prisoners as a goodwill gesture before attending his first U.N. General Assembly. Now, she has been taken to Evin Prison again, reportedly to serve a five-year sentence on national security charges.
Ms. Sotoudeh’s arrest raises questions about due process and the rule of law. Her husband, Reza Khandan, told reporters that Iranian security forces arrived to take her to prison with no warning. They informed the couple that she had been tried and convicted in absentia, even though they had not previously announced either the conviction or the sentence. Human rightswatchdogs have speculated that her arrest was motivated by her advocacy on behalf of women who protested the country’s strict veiling rules this year. Ms. Sotoudeh has also been an outspoken critic of the judiciary’s decision to allow only a small, preapproved list of lawyers to represent those charged with national security crimes. Just this month, she announced plans to hold a sit-in against the policy. According to her husband, she intends to continue her activism from prison, where she has refused to hire a defense lawyer from the shortlist and may remove her headscarf in solidarity with the hijab protesters.
Ms. Sotoudeh’s imprisonment is a flagrant abuse of power — one that has become all too common in Iran. Authorities continue to crack down on dissidents and human rights defenders after demonstrations on unemployment and women’s repression swept through the country this year. Despite a number of high-profile arrests, including that of Mr. Rouhani’s brother in 2017, the Rouhani government appears unable or unwilling to speak out against the Revolutionary Guard Corps or the country’s hard-line judiciary. This has created a chilling atmosphere for political dissenters across the country.
The State Department has issued a statement calling for Ms. Sotoudeh’s freedom, as have politicians from the European Union, which presented her with the prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012. Other nations should continue to pressure Iran for her immediate and unconditional release. She has dedicated her career to defending the unjustly persecuted. It is dismaying to see her on the receiving end of the same treatment.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Jun 20, 2018 Comments Off on Detained Iranian lawyer charged with ‘collusion with client’
Jun 15, 2018 Comments Off on U.S. expresses ‘deep concern’ over Iran’s arrest of rights lawyer
Jun 14, 2018 Comments Off on Iran arrests human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh after she criticised judiciary
Apr 23, 2018 Comments Off on Tehran MP Accuses IRGC Intelligence Arm Of Violations
Jul 19, 2018 Comments Off on Rouhani Facing Widespread Outrage as Student Protesters Remain Behind Bars and Receive Harsh Sentences
Jul 18, 2018 Comments Off on Iran Sues U.S. Over Broken Nuclear Deal and Reimposed Sanctions
Jul 16, 2018 Comments Off on Iran is Imprisoning University Students Accused of Attending Protests
Jul 15, 2018 Comments Off on How the Iran deal is bringing terror to Europe and other commentary
Jul 18, 2018 Comments Off on Iran Sues U.S. Over Broken Nuclear Deal and Reimposed SanctionsIran Sues U.S. Over Broken Nuclear Deal and Reimposed Sanctions Iran has sued the United States at the International Court of Justice in a new, if dubious, strategy to nullify the nuclear sanctions reimposed by...
Jul 15, 2018 Comments Off on How the Iran deal is bringing terror to Europe and other commentaryHow the Iran deal is bringing terror to Europe and other commentary America’s socialists are taking the Democratic Party by storm and New York City is leading the way. So Charles Lane at The Washington Post...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...