Nasrin Soutoudeh, sometimes spelled Nasrine, is an Iranian female attorney representing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Soutoudeh received a warning from the Iranian intelligence officials that she would be arrested if she continued to represent Ebadi. Ebadi fled Iran one day before the elections, in June 2009 and is living in London. Soutoudeh was arrested last Saturday and is believed to be in Tehran’s Evin prison.
Charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security,” Soutoudeh is a member of the Iranian Human Rights movement, the One Million Signature Campaign, which is gathering names of Iranians opposed to the country’s laws against women, and the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPRC).
Nasrin’s home and office were searched at the end of August. Her hard drives were confiscated and her assets frozen. She has a husband, who she says is a “modern man,” and two children about 11 and 3 years old. In Iran, Human Rights attorneys receive no payment for representing human rights victims. She believes the regime is working to “limit the conditions for human rights defense, and says the “ultimate goal is to shut down all defense of human rights.”
A few days before her arrest, Sotoudeh told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran how the authorities were creating bogus tax problems for human rights lawyers as a way to provide pretexts for their prosecution.
“I was referred to the taxation bureau and while there I noticed in addition to my name, they are conducting special investigations into thirty human rights lawyers,” she said.
Soutoudeh said Shirin Ebadi paid hundreds of thousands of dollars on her 2003 Nobel Peace Prize money. She was the first Iranian to win the Nobel, and the first Muslim woman to receive the honor. In 2009 the regime confiscated the medal, and diploma from her bank box and froze her assets.
Ebadi is also an Iranian lawyer, a human rights activist and the founder of Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. Nasrin Soutoudeh has represented many victims of Human Rights atrocities, many of them Human Rights attorneys.
There are some conflicting stories about Soutoudeh, but in all, she is at the least missing. Some of the accounts say her attorney was told that “Soutoudeh would be interrogated for an indefinite time.” Her husband says he has not seen her or heard from her.
Muslim women in the U.S. and across the West, live in a large measure of freedom, or at least the opportunity of freedom, and never utter a word about their sisters existing in abject tyranny. Soutoudeh is just one of many. Give me one reason Islam is to be respected…anywhere in the world. Just one.
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