Iran’s renowned human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has defended the “Girls of Revolution Street” has been arrested. Again.
5 years ago I was part of Amnesty International’s campaign to free Nasrin Sotoudeh. A brave lawyer known for defending political activists, journalists, minors sentenced to death and, since december last year, the Iranian women who have started to protest against the compulsory hijab in their country.
International human rights organisations, international leaders and the European Parliament were putting pressure on the Iranian authorities to release Sotoudeh. She was convicted of crimes against national security and propaganda against the ruling system, but just like her clients she became a political prisoner.
Sotoudeh has become an important target of an unjust regime trying to shut her up.
After serving three years of a six-year sentence Soutodeh was released in September 2013, without further explanation. Despite the risk to be arrested again she relentlessly continued her work and critized the judicial system, recently on a new law that drastically restricts the access to an independent lawyer.
Her release and that of other activists was seen as a gesture of good faith from the Islamic Republic to the international community.
President Rouhani was preparing to attend the UN for the first time and needed to show he’s a reasonable international leader. While in fact, Iranian women and men who believe in justice and in their beautiful country are governed by unjust leaders who allow innocent prisoners to be tortured in over-crowded prisons.
An oppressive theocratic judicial system that allows prisoners to be hanged on the streets needs to show the world more humane gestures like these, but instead, after 5 years, they arrest Sotoudeh again. Taken away from her house, witnessed by her 18-year-old daughter, she has been imprisoned in the notorious Evin prison since last Wednesday.
Sotoudeh has to serve another sentence. Five years this time. Just like that. No explanation. No fair trial. It’s clear this woman’s work is a threat to the Iranian authorities and they want to silence her. Again. It feels like one of Franz Kafka’s stories to me.
The country’s leaders should go behind bars. Not Nasrin. Not the women who want to feel the wind in their hair.
I can go on the streets here naked if I wanted, hair loose and no guardia civil officer would arrest me, they probably would think I just lost it. Although I heard some old stories saying topless women were arrested on the Ibizan beaches in the times of Franco. The dictator would roll over in his grave if he could see the free women baring their breasts on the sunny beaches.
A woman should decide what she wants to wear. So hijab or no hijab. Ripped jeans or mini-skirt. Bikini-top or bare breasts. Let her choose. Let her live.
Free the Girls of Revolution Street.
Free Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Free the people who are injustly jailed.
We don’t live in the dark ages anymore, do we?
Con Esperanza y Amor,
Photo credits: Leilie Mohseni / Instagram