Last updated: 31 October, 2012

Mistreatment of activist makes Iran look worse, says rights groups

Iran’s “mistreatment” of prominent rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh makes Tehran look worse in the eyes of the world, Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and six rights groups said on Wednesday.

“Iran’s judiciary and prison authorities should end mistreatment of the prominent rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh,” said a statement issued by Ebadi and groups that included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Sotoudeh is on hunger strike and not allowed to meet her family, the statement added.

“Sotoudeh is being treated in the infirmary of Evin prison after she initiated a hunger strike” on October 17, the statement quoted her husband, Reza Khandan, as saying.

It said the hunger strike was in response to harassment of her family by the authorities and restrictions on her visitation rights.

“Bullying a prisoner’s child or denying the person family visits and medical care only makes Iran look even worse in the eyes of the world,” the statement quoted Ebadi as saying.

On Friday, the European Parliament awarded Sotoudeh and Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi the prestigious Sakharov human rights prize, just days after the EU tightened sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme.