Cartoon 29: Persevering Even in Prison
Persevering Even in Prison
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian lawyer, has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights and defending prisoners of conscience in Iran. For her work, she was recently awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. For her work, she is serving a six-year prison sentence on charges of “acting against national security,” “collusion and propagation against the Islamic Republic,” and “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” She has also been banned from foreign travel for 20 years and from practicing law for 10.
Throughout her career, Sotoudeh has been very strong and persistent in pursuing the truth and defending human rights. Even inside prison, she has refused to compromise her values and has become a symbol of resistance and hope for the Iranian human rights community. In a letter to her two young children, Sotoudeh wrote from prison, “I know that you require water, food, housing, a family, parents, love, and visits with your mother. However, just as much, you need freedom, social security, the rule of law, and justice.”
In prison, Sotoudeh has been denied furlough and visits with her family, and recently her husband and 12-year-old daughter were banned from foreign travel and summoned to court without charges. On October 17, Sotoudeh embarked on a wet hunger strike to protest the treatment of her family and the denial of her basic rights.
The Campaign launched an interactive online campaign for her release in December 2011, which has garnered international support. Nasrin Sotoudeh has long been an outspoken advocate for the rights of women, children, and prisoners of conscience, often exposing the failure of Iranian authorities to uphold the law. These brave actions have made her a target. The Sakharov prize for human rights recognizes the strength of her work, and it is time that Iranian authorities release Nasrin Sotoudeh.