Leading Writers Association PEN International Condemns Sotoudeh’s Sentence and Calls for Action
On 13 January 2001, the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International condemned the eleven-year sentence of human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh issued by an Iranian court on 9 January 2010. PEN also called upon individuals everywhere to take action by writing Iranian leaders to call for Sotoudeh’s unconditional and immediate release.
PEN is the world’s leading association of writers and its Writer in Prison Committee works to promote the rights of persecuted writers across the global. PEN wrote on its website:
“Nasrin Sotoudeh is best known as a human rights lawyer and activist, but has also worked as a journalist for several reformist newspapers including Jame’e. Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2003, she has specialised in women’s and children’s rights, and has continued to write articles on these issues. Many of her articles have been rejected for publication, including a report written for a special issue of Daricheh on women’s rights for the occasion of 8 March (Women’s Day) earlier this year. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in August 2006 by several leading Iranian women activists, and the widespread growth of the women’s rights movement in Iran, she has represented many women’s rights activists including Parvin Ardalan, a well-known PEN case.”
PEN also wrote that it “considers that [Sotoudeh] is sentenced solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.”
The organization called upon individuals to take action on Sotoudeh’s behalf by writing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, copying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the sender’s diplomatic representative for Iran. PEN International recommended these letters:
[Condemn] the harsh prison sentence handed down to writer, journalist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression;
[Call] for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
[Urge the government to ensure] that she has full access to family visits and any necessary medical care whilst detained;
[Seek] assurances of her well-being in detention.
Letters should be sent to:
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Islamic Republic of Iran.
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)