The United States has called for the immediate release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the jailed Iranian lawyer who has been on a hunger strike since October 17, as well as other female political prisoners held in Tehran.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday November 30: “We demand the Iranian government cease its intolerable mistreatment of Sotoudeh and immediately release her and the more than 30 other female political prisoners detained in Evin Prison.”
Sotoudeh began her hunger strike in protest against the restrictions placed on her family visits and the pressure that officials put on her husband and daughter. She maintains that the restrictions violate her rights as a prisoner as stipulated in the prison regulations.
Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh’s husband, reported that on his last visit, she appeared to have reached a critical point in her health,
The U.S. State Department criticized Sotoudeh’s treatment by Iranian officials and expressed grave concern regarding her health.
Nasrin Sotoudeh has been moved to solitary confinement by prison officials, who refuse to heed any of her demands.
Nuland goes on to criticize the handling of Sotoudeh’s case in prison, saying: “We remain concerned for Sotoudeh's well-being, given Iran's history of withholding treatment from prisoners and allowing them to die from hunger strikes.”
Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer, is serving a six-year sentence for her involvement with the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, an NGO that offered pro bono defence services in human rights cases in Iran. The judiciary has also banned her from legal practice and maintains that she has “abused” the legal profession.