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Iran: Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

December 10, 2014 IN WIP
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Nasrin Sotoudeh. Courtesy: PEN International.

Update: Nasrin Sotoudeh was released several hours after her arrest. 

The arrest of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh on Human Rights day shows the continuing complete disregard of the Iranian authorities for freedom of expression, PEN International said today.

‘News of the re-arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was reportedly planning to attend a Human Rights Day gathering, is deeply disturbing,’ said Carles Torner, PEN International’s Executive Director.

‘We call on the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, and to lift the ban on her practising her profession so that she can return to her important activities defending the rights of others.’

Nasrin Sotoudeh was unexpectedly released in September 2013 after serving three years of a six year prison sentence.  However, the Iranian Bar Association suspended her license to practice for three years, which she has been campaigning to have lifted, including by staging daily demonstrations outside the Bar Association’s offices.  She was briefly arrested on 25 October 2014 after one of the demonstrations. Sotoudeh is an Honorary Member of PEN American Center.

Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan was also reportedly arrested today, but was released later.

– Via PEN International

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People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International