Sotoudeh’s Husband Says She Is Deprived From Legal Career For Life
Reza Khandan, husband of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the 20-year ban on Sotoudeh’s legal activities will commence when her prison term ends. Therefore, considering Sotoudeh is in her late 40s, if the sentence is upheld by the appeals court she will be deprived from her legal career for the rest of her life.
“We and Nasrin don’t count on the appeals court too much. What difference does it make if they, for example, reduce her sentence by four years?” said Khandan.
Khandan told the Campaign that he talked to his wife last Monday, and that she wasn’t surprised to hear her sentence. “She called on Monday and I told her about her sentence. It wasn’t too unexpected for her. They had said from the beginning that they would give her such a sentence. She asked about the additional bans, and I told her. Her lawyers have stated a point that is new, and that is that her additional punishment does not begin today, but at the end of her prison sentence,” he said.
“She passed the shocked and upset phase a month ago. Maybe she had a one or two percent doubt about getting a lesser sentence, and that doubt has dissipated now, too. The first time we spoke after her trial began, she said that she is aware that they are going to go all out and they won’t give her a light sentence. After the court, she told me a memorable phrase, ‘if you go to hell, go with courage.’ I mean the things she could have said after her sentence was issued, we talked about before. This was just her being informed of the sentence,” Khandan said about Sotoudeh’s reactions after hearing her sentence.
“Nasrin has not done anything criminal. The most prominent thing they brought up in court was that she has had too many interviews with foreign media. Nowhere in the law is it written that interviewing with foreign press is a crime; nobody accepts this [to be a crime]. Even at his meeting with the Bar Association, the Head of the Judiciary did not say that interviewing with foreign media is a crime; he said that it is ‘an insult’ to lawyers. Nowhere in the law is this stipulated and the Islamic Republic authorities are always interviewing with foreign media. The difference is that the authorities boast about themselves, but other individuals may raise some criticisms about their work,” said Khandan about what caused Sotoudeh’s heavy sentence.
“Nasrin spoke with the language of the law, and she always spoke candidly and modestly, to the point that even in court they couldn’t pull anything out and accuse her of inappropriate words. It’s interesting that the same interviews are alternatively used to accuse her once of propagating against the regime, and another time for acting against national security…if you take this case and hand it to other judges inside the same Revolutionary Courts, she would definitely be exonerated,” he added.
“Whoever hears this verdict is shocked. People show unimaginably emotional and kind reactions. Whomever we see tells us that they cannot believe this heavy sentence,” Khandan told the Campaign about reactions to Sotoudeh’s sentencing.