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German lawmakers demand release of Nasrin Sotoudeh | DW | 12.11.2020

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A group of German lawmakers released a signed statement on Thursday demanding the “unconditional” permanent release of Iranian human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was named a Right Livelihood Laureate last month.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a political prisoner in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran and earlier this year went on a two-month hunger strike to highlight her own plight.

The letter, along with a video message and the social media campaign #StandUp4Nasrin, comes just days after Iranian authorities released Sotoudeh for a temporary medical leave.

Imprisoned since June 2018, Sotoudeh’s health has deteriorated rapidly in the past months. And this week, her husband Resa Chandrin wrote on Facebook his wife had contracted the coronavirus while in prison.

The 37 signatories included Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth, Dr Anton Hofreiter (Chairperson of the Green Parliamentary group), Gyde Jensen (FDP), Bärbel Kofler (SPD), Gysi Gregor (Die Linke) and Michael Brand (CDU).

The letter, along with a video message and the social media campaign #StandUp4Nasrin, comes just days after Iranian authorities released Sotoudeh for a temporary medical leave. Imprisoned since June 2018, Sotoudeh’s health has deteriorated rapidly in the past months.

Read more: Iran’s Nasrin Sotoudeh — from human rights lawyer to hunger striker

“We express our full solidarity with Ms. Sotoudeh, and we will continue to stand by her and all other human rights defenders pursuing the respect of fundamental freedoms for all Iranians,” the parliamentarians wrote.

Acknowledging her current temporary release, German parliamentarians join the Right Livelihood Foundation in demanding that Iranian authorities free Sotoudeh permanently and drop all charges against her.

Given Sotoudeh’s precarious health condition, they also call for providing her with the medical care she needs.

Lastly, the open letter also urges Iran to guarantee that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

In a video released alongside the open letter, parliamentarians call for international support for Sotoudeh, urging everyone to “Stand up for Nasrin.”

The online campaign launched by the Right Livelihood Foundation in coordination with PEN America, using the hashtag #StandUp4Nasrin, is meant to gather support for Sotoudeh around the world.

Sotoudeh, who had been detained in June 2018, was sentenced to a total of 38 years of imprisonment and 148 lashes in March 2019.

Read more: Iran ‘releases’ British-Iranian aid worker for three days

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. These hunger strikes have contributed to the worsening of her health.

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.”

msh/rc (DW, rightlivelihood.org, dpa)



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