Concerns over the health of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist imprisoned in Evin Prison, have intensified at the beginning of this political prisoner’s sixth week hunger strike.
According to the Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil Prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a political prisoner who has been on a hunger strike since Tuesday, August 11th, 2020, in protest of the extrajudicial treatment and prison authorities disregard for the prisoners’ right of parolees, today, Monday, September 14th, 2020, in beginning of the sixth week of her hunger strike is in a worrying state of health.
The human rights activist has gone on a 35-day hunger strike, but according to her husband, Reza Khandan, she has a history of anesthesia on the second day of the hunger strike, a history of deteriorating on the ninth day of the hunger strike and transferring to prison clinic, and sign of gastrointestinal complications, extreme physical weakness in the foot area (possibility of falling to the ground), dizziness, fluctuations in blood pressure and blood sugar, nausea and inability to consume fluids and sugar (similar to dry hunger strike), transfer to hospital due to hypoglycemia and fluctuations in blood pressure, inability to walk, low eyesight, blurred vision and severe headaches.
Reza Khandan, a civil activist and Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, has published an article in this regard and said: “Nasrin has been on a hunger strike for 35 days. Yesterday was visiting day. Although Nasrin has stopped coming for visits for 4 weeks, I went to the visiting room. I talked to Rezvaneh’s wife, whom she had met. I learned from her words that Nasrin’s health is in a disturbingly bad condition. Much worse than what she herself has been trying to show during the phone calls in recent days.”
On August 11th, 2020, at the same time that she started her hunger strike, she released a statement from the women’s ward of Evin Prison, which her husband, Reza Khandan, had posted on his Facebook page.
In part of the statement, Nasrin Sotoudeh recalled the involvement of intelligence and security agencies in the verdicts against the defendants, saying that “Continuing imprisonment during the Corona epidemic and the conditions of the prisoners were impossible.”
Referring to the unfair trial of political offenders, she said in her statement: “The case of political prisoners are created for unbelievable charges of espionage, corruption, acting against national security, corruption and prostitution, and forming an illegal group on the Telegram channel that can lead to up to ten years in prison or a death sentences. Many defendants are denied access to an independent lawyer or unrestricted relation with their lawyer from the beginning of the case until the end of the sentence. The judges of the Revolutionary Court recklessly and repeatedly state to the political defendants that they will issue a verdict only on the basis of reports from the intelligence and security agencies, and the interrogator will tell them the verdict in advance upon the arrest of the defendants.”
This human rights activist and lawyer noted in part in the statement that the rights of detainees, including the court of appeals, parole, suspension of sentences, adjournment of sentences and the issuance of a minimum sentence under the new law, and all depend on the opinion of the interrogators.
Nasrin Sotoudeh earlier with publishing a statement, in protest to authorities preventing the release of political prisoners, started a hunger strike on Monday, March 16th, 2020.
Ms. Sotoudeh part of the statement reads: “It is national necessity that many of the provisions in the country’s prisons, including women’s ward of Evin prison be closed and a need for a national government of reconciliation with the world to the benefits of science and technology to fight the coronavirus”
At the end, this imprison lawyer wrote: “Since all legal and judicial correspondences with officials on the need for the release of prisoners have been fruitless so far, I reiterate my request for the release of political prisoners by going on a hunger strike as a last resort for a prisoner “
Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home and transferred to Evin Prison on June 13th, 2018. She was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes on charges of “conspiring against state security”, “publishing lies”, “disturbing public opinion” and “insulting the authorities” which 12 years of imprisonment will be implemented.
She was later told that the reason for her arrest was to serve a five-year prison sentence in a case that she was sentenced in absentia in 2016. Ruling was issued on charges of gathering and colluding to disturb national security referring to sit-in protest in front of the Bar Association.
Previously, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4th, 2010, and charged with acting against national security, using propaganda against the regime and membership in the Center for Human Rights Defenders. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison, in addition to barring her from practicing law and from leaving the country for 20 years.
An appeal court later reduced Sotoudeh’s prison sentence to six years, and her ban from working as a lawyer to ten years. She was released from Evin Prison after nearly three years in prison on September 18th, 2013.
So far, a large number of Iranian and non-Iranian citizens from around the world; Human rights organizations and international organizations have protested against Ms. Sotoudeh’s harsh sentence.
On Friday, May 24th, 2019, the Brussels Bar Association, in the presence of members of the Bar Association, several Belgian officials and a number of Iranians present in the hall of the Belgian Court of Justice, the foremost human rights award of the Brussels Bar Association was awarded to Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Amnesty International has previously called the detention of human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh “cruel” and called for European pressure for release of Nasrin Sotoudeh.
The mayor of Paris has previously issued a statement granting honorary citizenship of Paris to Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer imprisoned in Iran, for her role in defending human rights in Iran. On April 1st, 2019, while presenting the honorary citizenship, the mayor noted that Ms. Sotoudeh fight for basic principles and rights of women are inspiring for all and granting of honorary citizenship to Ms. Sotoudeh is in defense of her activities and a message for her release from prison.
Also, on Thursday, April 20, 200 lawyers from the Milan judiciary gathered in front of the Iranian consulate in the city in support of Nasrin Sotoudeh.
The president of the Milan Bar Association said in his speech on this day: “Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to a very heavy sentence for a specific reason; She has defended people who should not.”
The Swedish Pen Association presented its 2018 Special Award to Nasrin Sotoudeh.
In a text published by the official website of the Swedish PEN Association said, “This year’s Swedish PEN gives Tucholsky prize to Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and writer, for her courage and her constant struggle to defend the voices that are in danger of censorship and silence in Iran.”