Nasrin Sotoudeh (also spelled Sotoodeh, Persian: نسرین ستوده) is a human rights lawyer in Iran. She has represented imprisoned Iranian opposition activists and politicians following the disputed June 2009 Iranian presidential elections as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors. Her clients have included journalist Isa Saharkhiz, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and Heshmat Tabarzadi, the head of the banned opposition group Democratic Front of Iran.
Sotoudeh was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. In January 2011, Iranian authorities sentenced Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison.
Prior to her arrest, Sotoudeh represented activists and journalists such as Isa Saharkhiz, Heshmat Tabarzadi, Nahid Keshavarz, Parvin Ardalan, Omid Memarian, and Roya Tolouie, as well as child abuse and criminal cases. She worked closely with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and her Defenders of Human Rights Center. Following Sotoudeh’s arrest, Ebadi called for her release and expressed concern regarding her health. In the statement, Ebadi said, “Ms. Sotoudeh is one of the last remaining courageous human rights lawyers who has accepted all risks for defending the victims of human rights violations in Iran”. Former Czech President Václav Havel and Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi, also called for Sotoudeh’s release.
Other Awards and honors
- 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award
- 2011 Southern Illinois University School of Law Rule of Law Citation
- 2011 Giuseppe Motta Medal
- 2012 Sakharov Prize