Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Ends Prison Hunger Strike

Ten Years After Her First Arrest, Iranian Regime Continues Blatant Disregard For Human Rights

(New York, N.Y.) – Imprisoned Iranian human rights advocate and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, ended her 49-day hunger strike last week due to severely deteriorating health. Sotoudeh, who was first arrested by regime officials more than 10 years ago, put her health at risk to draw attention to the perilous conditions prisoners in Iran endure at a time when intensified U.S. sanctions and tensions with Tehran—as well as the regime’s renewed interest in plotting assassinations abroad—have largely overshadowed the plight of the thousands who are unjustifiably imprisoned in Iran.

In March 2019, Sotoudeh was convicted in absentia to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes based on trumped up charges meant to punish her human rights work. Her sentence remains one of the longest Iran’s judiciary has handed down for a human rights defender and underscores a broader pattern of escalating charges brought against them. As a former hostage in Iran, Washington Post global opinions writer Jason Rezaian observed in a recent column, the Iranian regime is increasingly targeting activists like Sotoudeh for her role in defending the fundamental freedoms and basic human rights for Iranian citizens. 

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s resource, Iran’s War on Protesters: Death, Detention, and Darkness, provides an overview of the Islamic Republic’s leadership crushing dissent and violently targeting civilians and protestors in their country. UANI’s resource, Cruel and Inhuman: Executions and Other Punishment in Iran, outlines the regime’s judicial injustices and reprehensible human rights offenses. UANI has also profiled Iran’s chief justice, who remains a leading contender to succeed the supreme leader, as well as one of the most notorious judges in Iran, Abolqasem Salavati.

Iran’s judicial system remains among the most brutal and least just in the world. Iran violates the human rights of its citizens by arresting, detaining, imprisoning, and often executing them for “crimes” often committed merely by exercising fundamental freedoms. Many of these offenses are vaguely defined and can thus be exploited for arbitrary detention and punishment. Such crimes include “propaganda against the state,” insulting government officials, and women appearing in public with no or insufficient head covering. 

The cruelty and inhumanity of Iran’s system of punishment goes well beyond executions, however. Individuals may be arrested and indefinitely detained without charge or on trumped-up offenses; subject to degrading treatment, including torture, in order to extract confessions; denied rights such as access to legal counsel and fair and speedy trial; and incarcerated in overcrowded prisons where they are subject to torture, rape, and other atrocities. Just this week, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that at least 38 people were detained after pro-Azerbaijan protests throughout Iran. 

To read UANI’s resource, Iran’s War on Protesters: Death, Detention, and Darkness, please click here.

To read UANI’s resource, Cruel and Inhuman: Executions and Other Punishment in Iran, please click here.

To read UANI’s profile, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi: Chief Justice of Iran, please click here.

To read UANI’s profile, Abolqasem Salavati: The Judge of Death, please click here.