Law Society urges President Ahmadinejad to act over imprisoned lawyer

Law Society President Lucy Scott-Moncrieff has written to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, urging him to “do the right thing” and guarantee the welfare of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has entered a sixth week of her hunger strike.
As concerns mount for the deteriorating health of the lawyer, the Law Society President has expressed her concern over the reasons for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s imprisonment and urged the President of Iran to “guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Nasrin Sotoudeh and, indeed, of all human rights defenders presently detained in your country.”
Commenting after the letter was sent today, the Law Society President said:
“President Ahmadinejad has an opportunity here to do the right thing and send a clear signal to the world that the Iranian regime does not disregard its legal obligations to ensure the rights of its citizens. That includes the lawyers who defend them.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh’s plight is a symbol of other human rights defenders in Iran and around the world who face persecution simply for doing their jobs and upholding the principles of justice.”
In the letter, Scott-Moncrieff writes: “The Law Society is concerned about the circumstances surrounding the detention of Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh who was arrested on 4 September 2010.
“Before her arrest Ms Sotoudeh had represented and defended political activists, opposition members, juvenile offenders on death row, women and prisoners of conscience. The Law Society is deeply worried for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s physical and psychological integrity, especially given that she has been on hunger strike for six weeks.
“I urge the Iranian Government and authorities to ensure that the rights of human rights lawyers and human rights defenders are protected and that they are not impeded from carrying out human rights work.”
Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh is one of Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyers and winner of the 2012 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. She was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from working as a lawyer for 10 years on charges that include acting against Iran’s national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime.
Ms Sotoudeh’s courage and outspokenness have earned her the respect of many people in Iran and abroad. Her husband Reza Khandan and their 13-year-old daughter have been barred from leaving Iran.
The Law Society’s call for urgent action over Nasrin Sotoudeh’s imprisonment follows similar calls from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who also expressed concern for her welfare.
(Law Society Press Release)

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