Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer has over the years defended many important ethically cases and different exposed groups in Iran. Among these, women protesting against having to wear the Islamic headscarf.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was also a signatory to the Campaign for One Million Signatures, which called for the elimination of laws discriminating against women and defended many of its members when they were arrested.
She has defended children held on death row – although it’s illegal under international law to execute those under 18, some 73 children have been put to death in Iran between 2005 and 2015 – and actively campaigned against the death penalty.
She has stood up as well for those arrested in a state crackdown after Iran’s disputed 2009 election that brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power (electoral irregularities brought millions of Iranians out in protest). She has represented prominent opposition activists.
Sotoudeh is an outspoken critic of the country’s judiciary, which is dominated by hardliners. She has objected to its decision to limit the number of lawyers allowed to defend clients in security-related cases, calling the move a “farewell” to the right of defense.
International organizations celebrated Nasrin’s human rights work, awarding her thePEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.
In October 2012 the European Parliament gave its most prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, to Sotoudeh and an acclaimed Iranian film director, Jafar Panahi. The award has been previously won by the likes of Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.
Apart from running her own law practice, Sotoudeh said she worked with or helped create NGOs including the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, which was founded by Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace prize-winner, and the Children’s Rights Committee. The human rights center was shut down by the government in 2008.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, invited Nasrin Sotoudeh to be part of G7 advisory council on gender equality in February 2019. Sotoudeh being in prison, a seat was left “empty” for her at a meeting of the council.
The Iranian Government has on several times sentenced her to jail for her work and just activites, after being convicted on security-related charges and she is at this moment sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
For many Iranians she is a national hero and she firmly believes in equality and justice for all.
Just as much as you need “parents, love, and visits with your mom,” an opposition website reported she wrote to her children, “you need freedom, social security, the rule of law and justice.”
Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer.
Over the years Nasrin Sotoudeh has defended the rights of women, against the death penalty of minors, of political activists, journalists and religious minorities.
The European parliament awarded her the Sakharov human rights prize in 2012.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, invited Nasrin Sotoudeh to be part of G7 advisory council on gender equality. at the Elysee Palace in Paris with Macron on February 19, 2019.
Nasrin Sotoudeh has been imprisoned numerous times because of defending vulnerable people and groups in the Iranian society, on unfair grounds and without a legal trial.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is a national hero and a role model for many Iranian citizens.
Author: Janet McKenzie