Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh on hunger strike
ISHR: “The rule of law in Iran is a farce”
Frankfurt am Main, August 12, 2020 – A dramatic appeal from prison: The Iranian human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike yesterday in the notorious Evin prison in Teheran. According to the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), Iran’s most prominent political prisoner is protesting against unfair trials and the continued detention of civil rights activists despite the high risk of infection with the Coronavirus.
“While thousands of criminals have been paroled in recent months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, political prisoners in Iran are still in custody. The unscrupulous regime is deliberately exposing civil rights activists to the risk of contracting COVID-19 in overcrowded prisons under poor hygienic conditions. The fact that Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2012, went on a hunger strike shows how desperate she is now and that there is an immediate need for action”, emphasizes Martin Lessenthin, spokesman of the board of the ISHR.
In Iran civil rights activists are charged with espionage, corruption, endangering state security, prostitution or forming an illegal association. According to the ISHR, the terms of imprisonment are just as arbitrary as the arrests – “the regime critics must always expect anything from several years in prison to death penalty”. Most of the accused are not represented by an independent lawyer. In addition, the Revolutionary Courts pass judgments exclusively on the basis of the State Security reports – sometimes these have already been determined before the arrest. The ISHR reports that lawyers who are not recognized by revolutionary courts are often imprisoned themselves.
“The rule of law in Iran is a farce and does not exist for political prisoners”, says Lessenthin.