Freedom Now is excited to welcome the early release of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh from arbitrary detention in Iran. Prior to her arrest, Ms. Sotoudeh was a prominent human rights advocate and lawyer working to advance women’s and children’s rights in Iran and representing those persecuted by the government. In September 2010, the government arrested her on charges including “propaganda against the state” and sentenced her to six years in prison. Ms. Sotoudeh served more than two years of that sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.
In December 2011, Freedom Now and renowned Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi released an opinion by UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which found the detention of Ms. Sotoudeh a violation of international law. In calling for her immediate release, the UN Working Group found that the government detained Ms. Sotoudeh as punishment for her exercise of fundamental human rights and denied her minimum international due process protections. In 2012, she was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for her human rights advocacy in the face of state harassment and intimidation.
“We are relieved that the Iranian authorities have released Ms. Sotoudeh from her unlawful detention” said Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now. “While we celebrate Ms. Sotoudeh’s freedom, we must also redouble our efforts to free her colleagues who remain in prison. As Ms. Sotoudeh noted shortly after her release today, Abdolfattah Soltani, the courageous lawyer who represented her was himself sentenced to 13 years in prison. The international community must seize this opportunity to join Ms. Sotoudeh in demanding the release of Iran’s remaining prisoners of conscience.”
Freedom Now, along with Alex Chalk from the Chambers of David Fisher QC and David Perry QC and Ms. Ebadi, serves as pro bono international legal co-counsel to Ms. Sotoudeh and Mr. Soltani.