Editor’s Note: entered her of hunger strike today, October 14, 2010.
By Kaveh Ghoreishi, October 11, 2010
In an exclusive interview with Rooz, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband announced that his wife, a lawyer jailed by the Iranian government, has gone on hunger strike. He says, “in a brief, three-second phone call, my wife was only able to say that she has gone on hunger strike since Mehr 3 [September 25]. After the said that, and immediately after she mentioned the word ‘threat,’ the call was suddenly cut off.”
Meanwhile, in separate interviews with Rooz, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s lawyers voiced their concern for her well-being and blasted her treatment as an insult against “lawyers and the legal profession,” while emphasizing the illegal nature of her arrest. Prominent lawyer and a co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, Mohammad Ali Seifzadeh told Rooz, “It is the duty of the bar association and every human rights defender to pursue the case of Ms. Sotoudeh and secure her release as soon as possible.”
Fellow lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah also characterized Nasrin Sotoudeh’s arrest as “illegal,” emphasizing, “According to the law, legal malpractice is actionable only through the especial administrative court for lawyers, meaning that a case brought against a lawyer must categorically be initiated by the bar association’s disciplinary committee.”
In recent days, several news sources had pointed to the possibility that Nasrin Sotoudeh is on hunger strike. Speaking to Rooz yesterday, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, confirmed the reports and noted his grave concern for Ms. Sotoudeh’s well-being.
Reza Khandan said, “During my wife’s last call, about twelve days after her arrest, she said that if her calls became more infrequent, it means that she has gone on hunger strike. Because she emphasized that, when we noticed several days ago that she hasn’t called for a relatively long time, we announced her having gone on hunger strike as a possibility.”
Now, several days later and after a brief phone call, Mr. Khandan fully confirmed the news of her wife’s hunger strike: “Today, at about 2 p.m., in a brief, three-second phone call, my wife was only able to say that she has gone on hunger strike since Mehr 3 [September 25]. After the said that, and immediately after she mentioned the word ‘threat,’ the call was suddenly cut off.”
According to Ms. Sotoudeh’s husband: “She uttered this very short sentence with a lot of stress and anger, which showed that heavy confrontations have broken out around her. Ms. Sotoudeh’s tone during the call was also very upset and angry.”
Speaking to Rooz late last night, Reza Khandan added, “I didn’t say anything during that three-second call, waiting for my wife to finish her message. Unfortunately, they didn’t make even that possible for her. After the phone call, our concern with Ms. Sotoudeh’s condition and well-being has multiplied. As she said, today must be the eleventh day into her hunger strike.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, who represents Isa Saharkhiz, Keyvan Samimi, Shirin Ebadi, and several other journalists, civil society and political activists, was arrested on September 4. She also represents the families of Meysam Ebadi and Ahmad Nejati-Kargar, two of the individuals who lost their lives during protests against last year’s election results.