Oct 31, 2023
Jailed Iranian Activist Sotoudeh on Hunger and Medicine Strike
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and activist, has been on a hunger and medicine strike since her arrest on October 29, her husband says.
Sotoudeh was arrested during the burial ceremony of Armita Garavand, a 16-year-old girl who was assaulted at a Tehran metro station a month ago for not wearing a headscarf.
Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, told IranWire that his 60-year-old wife was severely beaten during her arrest at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery and that her glasses were broken.
He also said that the activist was transferred to Qarchak prison, a women's prison known for its harsh conditions.
The semi-official Fars News Agency accused Sotoudeh of “violating” mandatory headscarf rules.
She was among "dozens of activists who were detained while peacefully attending Garavand's funeral," according to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi urged governments to summon Iranian ambassadors to voice their outrage at the "atrocities" the Islamic Republic is inflicting upon the Iranian people, and to "join together to politically and economically isolate the Iranian government while these crimes continue.”
Sotoudeh, known for defending activists, opposition politicians and women prosecuted for removing their headscarves, had been on medical leave from prison.
She has called Armita's death on October 28 “another state murder.”
The teenager had been in a coma in Tehran’s Fajr Military Hospital since October 1, when she lost consciousness on the city’s metro.
The authorities said Armita had fallen and injured her head after suffering a sudden drop in blood pressure, but reports suggest that she was physically assaulted by a hijab enforcement officer.
“I am aggrieved and outraged that the life of yet another young person – this time 16-year-old Armita Garawand – was cut cruelly short in connection to Iran’s abusive and degrading compulsory veiling laws,” Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, wrote on the social media platform X.
“Those responsible for Armita Garawand’s unlawful death must face justice,” she added.