Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh prominent human rights lawyer arbitrarily detained

Urgent Appeal
en fa

New information
IRN 001 / 0618 / OBS 085
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
June 15, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer and 2012 laureate of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize.

According to the information received, on June 13, 2018, security forces arrested Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh at her home in Tehran and transferred her to the capital’s Evin prison. Upon her arrest, she was presented with an arrest warrant and was told that she was being taken to serve a five-year prison sentence, which had been handed down against her in absentia. Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh was not shown the court’s ruling related to the sentence and had not been informed of the conviction or the sentence prior to her arrest. The Iranian judiciary has not disclosed neither the procedure by which the sentence was issued and communicated, nor the possibility given to Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh to appeal. This is in flagrant contravention of domestic and international fair trial standards.

In August 2015, Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned for interrogation following the renewal of her lawyer’s licence a while after a nine-month sit-in she had been holding in protest against a three-year suspension of the licence. The summons did not specify any charges. However, she was unable to attend the interrogation due to a surgery on her foot at the time. Her husband went to the court in her place and presented medical documents regarding her condition and her inability to respond to the summons.

She was then given three weeks to go to the Islamic Revolution Court. However, when she did go she was not allowed in, as a number of lawyers are barred from entering the court’s building. Ms. Sotoudeh was also summoned to the Islamic Revolution Court on September 4, 2016, with which she complied. However, she was neither tried nor notified of any charges.

The Observatory recalls that Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh had already been imprisoned for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities in September 2010. Following national and international outcry over her detention, she was released in 2013 after serving more than three years of her six-year prison sentence [1]. She has spoken out about different human rights issues ever since.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s arbitrary detention, which appears aimed at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh and to guarantee her physical and psychological integrity. The Observatory further urges the Iranian authorities to ensure that all judicial proceedings against her are carried out in full compliance with her right to a fair trial.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as all human rights defenders detained in Iran, as their detention is arbitrary as it is merely aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

iv. Ensure that all judicial proceedings against Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh are carried out in full compliance with her right to a fair trial, as protected under international law;

v. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Iran.


• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email:; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: / /
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149;
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
• H.E. Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

Geneva-Paris, June 15, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail:
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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