Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of free speech defender Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer who has represented many imprisoned journalists. She was arrested on 5 September on charges of anti-government propaganda and conspiring against the regime after responding to a summons from a revolutionary court prosecutor’s office located inside Tehran’s Evin prison.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh has for the past year been the spokesperson of the victims of injustice, of those the regime is trying to silence,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Detained journalists and other political prisoners are denied their most basic rights. Lawyers cannot visit their detained clients or see their case files. Now the repression is being stepped up a notch. By arresting lawyers, the regime is trying to gag the last dissenting voices. Lawyers’ organisations throughout the world must demand this courageous lawyer’s immediate release.”
The prominent political prisoners defended by Sotoudeh include journalists Issa Saharkhiz and Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand, who are both seriously ill (http://en.rsf.org/iran-health-of-prisoners-of-conscience-16-07-2010,37962.html). Despite being interrogated and threatened on several occasions, she has never stopped denouncing the arbitrary and illegal arrests that have been taking place since June 2009’s disputed presidential election.
When Sotoudeh’s office was searched and closed on 28 August, she said: “Their aim is to rid the country of its human rights defenders.”