Prominent American Civil Rights Lawyer Calls for Release of Imprisoned Iranian Lawyers
A prominent civil rights lawyer in the United States has written a letter addressing human rights abuses carried out by the government against attorneys in Iran dedicated to upholding human rights. The letter, written by Michael H. Sussman, comes at a time when prominent human rights lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh who has been imprisoned since 4 September and is reportedly on hunger strike, are being detained wantonly by authorities. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and prominent international organizations have called for Sotoudeh’s release citing the deeply flawed judicial system in Iran that targets its own lawyers.
The text of the letter is below:
The United States and Iran have had no overt diplomatic relationship for thirty years or since the seizing of the embassy during the last year of the Carter Presidency. During this time period, rampant human rights violations have escalated in Iran. These include the detention and abuse of attorneys dedicated to working for human rights.
As a civil rights lawyer in the United States, I abhor the deplorable record of human rights exhibited by Iran. At the same time, I believe the United States must engage Iran in a constructive dialogue based upon the United Nations Chargter. Our objective should not be to limit or direct that nation’s development. Our objective should be to insure that the bedrock principles of international human rights are upheld by all governments, including Iran’s. The abuse of attorneys and other human rights workers needs to stop immediately. Our government must make this a priority.
Michael H. Sussman
Civil Rights Lawyer