Permanently release 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh from prison

Press releases 09.11.2020

Iranian human rights lawyer and 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was released from prison for a temporary medical leave on Saturday, must be freed permanently, the Right Livelihood Foundation said on Monday.

Sotoudeh was temporarily released from prison after her health had severely deteriorated in the past months. She will spend the leave at home and in hospital, according to her husband, Reza Khandan. Iranian authorities can order her back to prison at any time.

In light of these developments, the Right Livelihood Foundation calls for Sotoudeh’s permanent and unconditional release. She has been convicted and sentenced to prison on trumped-up charges. It’s time for Iranian authorities to stop punishing Sotoudeh for demanding fundamental freedoms.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh should never have been in prison, in the first place,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Foundation. “We demand her permanent and unconditional release as part of a complete exoneration. The Iranian regime cannot get away with silencing human rights defenders, which has almost cost Sotoudeh her life. The world is watching.”

Sotoudeh, who has been detained since June 2018, was sentenced to a total of 38 years of imprisonment and 148 lashes in March 2019. While in detention, Sotoudeh has conducted several hunger strikes to raise attention to the plight of political prisoners. Most recently, she conducted a 40-day hunger strike demanding the release of all political prisoners held amidst deplorable conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On October 1, she was named one of the 2020 Right Livelihood Laureates “for her fearless activism, at great personal risk, to promote political freedoms and human rights in Iran.”

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