Jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh held incommunicado

Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

Payam Derafshan, an attorney to the prominent Iranian civil rights activists and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, announced on January 14, 2019, that Sotoudeh has once again been held incommunicado in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Her husband Reza Khandan who was recently released from Evin after months in custody, also posted the news on his facebook account on January 13.

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s attorney, Payam Derafshan said, “It has been some times that on the pretext of finding scissors in my client’s personal belongings, they have issued orders to ban her from visits again.”

According to the privatization plan of prisons, and that the prisoners are basically cooking from their own rations, all the cooking equipment, such as various knives, are available to prisoners. Now, for Nasrin Sotoudeh obtaining scissors is just a pretext for creating more pressure on this political prisoner.

Payam Derafshan added, “It’s unfortunate that prison officials, under any pretext, try to ban my client from visits with her children, and, in this way, they harass my client by violating the principle of punishments of a personal nature and by imposing suffering on her young children.”

According to Mr. Khandan, Evin’s authorities have decided to increase their pressure on female inmates to prevent leaks concerning the conditions in the prison.

Nasrin Sotoudeh along with Baha’i university educator Azita Rafizadeh had given up their right to phone calls until the authorities lift newly imposed restrictions targeting fellow inmates in the Women’s Ward.

Recently, female inmates held in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison in Tehran were allowed to make three 20-minute phone calls per week. Now, female prisoners can only make 10-minute phone calls.

Sotoudeh, 55, is the winner of numerous prestigious international awards, including PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write (2011), Southern Illinois University School of Law Rule of Law Citation (2011) AND Sakharov Prize (2012)

On 21 September 2018, she was also awarded the annual tribute for a lawyer, the 23rd Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize initially bestowed on Nelson Mandela in 1986 when in jail.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, outspoken opponent of the death penalty and compulsory hijab has been sentenced to five years’ prison.

Sotoudeh however, deems her arrest as unjust. In August, she sent out an open letter, explaining the reasons for her refusal to appear before the court and present her defense. She also did not accept to be released on bail. In protest to her unfair arrest and prosecution, she went on hunger strike from August 25 until October 3, 2018.