Urgent Interventions

Joint statement: Nasrin Sotoudeh ends hunger strike, must be immediately released from prison


Paris-Geneva,September 30, 2020 – Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh decided to put an endto her 46-day hunger strike on September 25, 2020, due to her alarming healthcondition. The Observatory (FIDH-OMCT) and the League for the Defence of HumanRights in Iran (LDDHI) urge the Iranian authorities to release her immediately.

OnSeptember 25, 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh ended the hunger strike she began onAugust 11, 2020, due to a severe deterioration of her health. Ms. Sotoudeh wenton a hunger strike to call for the immediate release of all human rightsdefenders and political prisoners in Iran, whose lives have been particularlythreatened because of the appalling conditions in Iranian detention facilities,exacerbated by the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlierthis month, on September 19, 2020, Ms. Sotoudeh was transferred from Tehran’sEvin prison to the capital’s Taleghani Hospital and placed in coronary careunit due to heart problems arising from her hunger strike. During her stay atthe hospital, her family was not able to contact her or speak to her doctorsabout her health, and she was closely monitored by security officers at alltimes. Despite her very poor health, she was sent back to Evin prison five dayslater, on September 23, 2020, where she does not receive any medical attention.

TheObservatory and LDDHI recall that Nasrin Sotoudeh has been detained in Evinprison since June 13, 2018. She was sentenced to a total of 38,5 years inprison and 148 lashes on December 30, 2018 under charges of “gathering andcollusion against national security”, “spreading propaganda against thesystem”, “effective membership of the illegal and anti-security splinter groupsDefenders of Human Rights Centre, LEGAM and National Council of Peace”,“encouraging people to commit corruption and prostitution, and providing themeans for it”, “appearing without the sharia-sanctioned hijab at the premisesof the magistrate’s office”, “disrupting public order and calm” and “spreadingfalsehoods with intent to disturb the public opinion”.

TheObservatory and LDDHI are deeply concerned about Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health,which has severely deteriorated as a result of her hunger strike, and whichcould even worsen because of the lack of effective medical attention in Evinprison. The Observatory and LDDHI reiterate their call on Iranian authoritiesto immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Sotoudeh and all human rightsdefenders in Iran.

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

The League for theDefence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) was founded in Paris in March 1983,following the forced closure of the “Iranian Association for the Defence ofHuman Rights and Liberties” (established in 1977) in 1981, and the departure ofits leaders into exile. Since its establishment, LDDHI has consistentlyreported and campaigned against human rights violations in Iran, concentratingon the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, women’s rights, freedom ofpolitical prisoners, rights of religious and ethnic minorities, freedoms ofexpression, assembly and association among others. LDDHI has been a member ofFIDH since 1986.

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