Iran: Lawyer who won Sakharov human rights award continues her peaceful protests against ban from practicing law.

المصدر: 
Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is protesting every day against a court decision banning her from practicing law for three years. On 25 November police interrogated her for seven hours after she demonstrated against acid attacks on women in Isfahan, but this has not deterred her personal protest.


26 November 2014 - Award winning Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh says she's determined to continue protesting a decision to ban her from practicing law. Sotoudeh started picketing outside the offices of the Iranian Bar Association in Tehran a month ago, holding signs reading "right to work" and "rights of dissenters," after the association, reportedly under official pressure, banned her from working as a lawyer for three years.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh (center, holding flower) demonstrates in front of Iran's Bar Association. Photo: RFE/RL.

"If my sentence is not overturned, I will keep protesting until the end of the three-year ban," Sotoudeh told RFE/RL by telephone on November 26. She also said the independence of the Iranian Bar Association must be restored.

Sotoudeh was released from jail last year after serving half of a six-year sentence on charges that included acting against Iran's national security and spreading propaganda against the establishment. Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov human rights prize in 2012, said her peaceful protest had received the support of many activists and intellectuals in Iran.

"Every day from 9:30 a.m. until 12 p.m., I protest in front of the Bar Association. I've been joined by many political and social activists and also social figures," she said. Sotoudeh added that some of those who have joined her picket have been pressured by the authorities and threatened with arrest.

Sotoudeh said intelligence officials detained and interrogated her for several hours on November 25 after she took part in a gathering against acid attacks targeting women in Isfahan. "I was asked how long I was planning to keep protesting and I also heard some threats that day," she said. "[But] I don't believe that my seven-hour detention on that day was not connected to my ongoing protest in front of the Bar Association."

The rights advocate told RFE/RL that many passersby had also expressed support for her actions. "Sometimes they even say from a distance, 'We're with you,' and they flash victory signs."

Sotoudeh has gained the respect of many people inside and outside of Iran for her defiance in the face of state repression. Before her arrest in 2010, Sotoudeh was involved in sensitive political and human rights cases. During her time in prison, she went on hunger strikes several times to protest her sentence and a travel ban imposed on her daughter.

Reported by Golnaz Esfandiari