Nasrin Sotoudeh Sends Heart-Breaking Apology to Son For Missing First Day of School
Detained human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has written a letter to her 12-year-old son, Nima, explaining why she and her husband—also detained in Iran’s Evin Prison—can’t be there for his first day of school.
“How could I witness the execution of juveniles in my country and be silent? How could I close my eyes to child abuse cases … to be able to accompany you to school on the start of the new academic year along with your father? I just couldn’t, my son. That was my sin,” wrote Sotoudeh, who has been detained since June 2018 on trumped-up national security charges.
“These days, I think about you more than ever. I think about you and your dear sister Mehraveh and how lonely you are… I shed tears of love so that these cruel times become more bearable for you,” said Sotoudeh.
For the second consecutive week, Sotoudeh, the country’s most prominent human rights defender, has sacrificed her visitation rights to protest the Tehran prosecutor’s demand that she attend visits draped head to toe in a hijab.
All women in Iran are required to cover their hair in public with a headscarf but conservative Iranian women use the head-to-toe hijab.
Sotoudeh, who has been on hunger strike for nearly a month, did not go to the prison’s family visitation hall during her allotted time slot on September 23, a source close to her family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“A day before the scheduled visitation, one of the authorities met with her husband, Reza Khandan, who is being held in Evin’s Ward 4, and asked him to call her on the phone and tell her to observe the hijab during meetings with her relatives,” according to the source who asked for anonymity.
Detained since June 13, 2018, for legally representing peaceful opponents of Iran’s mandatory hijab law, Sotoudeh has refused to sign a written pledge stating she will wear the head to toe hijab in prison.
Khandan has been detained since September 4 after being arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry for providing updates about his wife’s case on Facebook and giving interviews to foreign news outlets.
“She was really sick two days ago and her blood pressure dropped but now she’s feeling better, thank God,” the source told CHRI on September 23.
A group of 340 Iranian civil and political activists wrote an open letter to Sotoudeh on September 19 urging her to end her hunger strike.
“While appreciating her struggle and resistance, we call upon Nasrin Sotoudeh to end her hunger strike, given that it is important for freedom and justice fighters to remain healthy in the current dangerous climate,” said the letter.