2012 Sakharov Prize Winner
Nasrin Sotoudeh's Hunger Strike
By Alex P. Vidal
LOS ANGELES, California – Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland of the Office of the Spokesperson, Department of State, has issued a statement November 30, 2012:
“We are deeply troubled by reports of the rapidly declining health of jailed Iranian human rights defender and 2012 Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh. Iranian officials have denied Sotoudeh, a leading women’s rights champion, medical care during her more than six-week hunger strike and have kept her in solitary confinement.
“We remain concerned for Sotoudeh’s well-being given Iran’s history of withholding treatment from prisoners and allowing them to die from hunger strikes.
“We demand the Iranian Government cease its intolerable mistreatment of Sotoudeh and immediately release her and the more than 30 other female political prisoners detained in Evin Prison.”
Sotoudeh has represented imprisoned Iranian opposition activists and politicians following the disputed June 2009 Iranian presidential elections as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors. Her clients have included journalist Isa Saharkhiz, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and Heshmat Tabarzadi, the head of the banned opposition group Democratic Front of Iran.
Sotoudeh was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. In January 2011, Iranian authorities sentenced Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison, in addition to barring her from practicing law and from leaving the country for 20 years.
An appeals court later reduced Sotoudeh's prison sentence to six years, and her ban from working as a lawyer to ten years.