Nasrin Sotoudeh Detained for Several Hours on Human Rights Day
On December 10, 2014, Iranian intelligence agents detained renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, before releasing her several hours later. The detention marks the second time in less than two months that Sotoudeh has been detained for her activities in protest of the Iranian Bar Association’s suspension of her legal license.
A few hours after her release from detention, Sotoudeh spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and said: “At nine o’clock in the morning I was driving with my husband [Reza Khandan] to the Iranian Bar Association [in Tehran], just like we have in all the previous days of my protest sit-in in front of the Bar Association, when a car in front of us blocked our way, forced us to get out of our car and then transferred us to the Intelligence Office located at Saba Street [in Tehran].”
According to Sotoudeh, she and her husband were detained for five and three hours, respectively. She told the Campaign: “We repeatedly asked [the intelligence agents] to see our detention order, but no detention order was produced.”
When asked what reason the intelligence agents gave for her detention, Sotoudeh told the Campaign: “I had called for those who have supported my sit-in to join me on the occasion of Human Rights Day. The intelligence agents told me that I should not hold such a big gathering but I emphasized that Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution recognizes the right to assemble and hold public gatherings.”
She continued: “I also stressed to the intelligence agents that my friend Mahdieh Golroo is detained [since October 26] because of her participation in a protest, that her detention is illegal and she should be released. The detention of individuals for participation in public gatherings must come to an end.”
According to reports the Campaign has received, 80 people—including lawyers, civil society activists and Tehran residents—gathered at the sit-in today in front of the office of the Iranian Bar Association in Tehran to mark Human Rights Day.
Sotoudeh’s detention comes 50 days into her on-going sit-in in front of the office of the Bar Association in Tehran to protest her suspension from legal practice. This is the second time during this period that she has been detained for a few hours and then released—the first incident occurring on October 25, 2014, on the fourth day of her sit-in action.
On October 18, 2014, Branch Two of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Court at the Iranian Bar Association headed by Majed Vossoughi, banned Nasrin Sotoudeh from her legal practice for three years. In protest of this suspension, Sotoudeh began a sit-in on October 21, 2014 in front of the Bar Association in Tehran. Since then, every day, some of Sotoudeh’s colleagues, civil society activists and lay people have joined the sit-in in solidarity.