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Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes because of her work defending women's rights, including saying women should be allowed to choose what they wear.

In 2018, Nasrin took on defending women facing prosecution because they took part in protests against the compulsory hijab. Now, she is separated from her husband and two children and can’t carry out her important work as a human rights lawyer. Women should be able to choose what they wear, and lawyers should be able to defend their right to do so.

This is the harshest sentence recorded against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years, suggesting that the authorities are stepping up their repression.

Nasrin is currently jailed in Shahr-e Rey prison, a disused chicken farm that holds several hundred women convicted of violent offences. The conditions in the prison are extremely poor - it is overcrowded and unhygienic, without access to decent food, medicine and fresh air. The prison has an intolerable and toxic smell, there are no windows or ventilation, and prisoners have no access to safe drinkable water. Reports from the facility indicate high levels of assault towards inmates both by other inmates and prison staff, as well as rampant drug use and infectious diseases.

There are also serious concerns about Nasrin’s health. In January 2021, Nasrin was diagnosed with a myocardial bridge, which can result in breathlessness, angina, chest pain or other heart complications. The condition is made worse by stress or physical exertion. A cardiologist recommended that Nasrin should not get stressed and should be held in well-ventilated spaces.

With confirmed cases of COVID-19 in prisons across Iran, Nasrin’s life could be at risk. Prisoners are at particular risk because they are unable to adhere to the same social distancing and hygiene measures as those outside of prison to protect themselves.

Nasrin was previously sentenced to six years in prison for her human rights work back in 2010. When thousands of people like you stood up to demand her freedom, she was pardoned and released. People power got Nasrin out of jail before, so we know it can work for her again! ❤️

Nasrin is not a criminal. She is a human rights defender. It is essential that the Iranian authorities unconditionally release Nasrin on a permanent basis.

Nasrin has dedicated her life to helping others. Now she is in danger and urgently needs your help. Will you stand with Nasrin? Add your name to the petition calling for her immediate and unconditional release.

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition


Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Dear Mr Khamenei,

Dear Mr Khamenei, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender, has been unjustly sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes following two grossly unfair trials. I appeal to you to release her as she is a prisoner of conscience.

Some of the legitimate activities that the authorities have cited as “evidence” against her include: opposing Iran’s abusive, discriminatory and degrading forced hijab laws; removing her headscarf during prison visits; giving media interviews about the violent arrest and detention of women protesting against forced hijab.

I urge you to release Nasrin Sotoudeh immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for her peaceful human rights work. Pending her release, please ensure that she has regular contact with her family and a lawyer of her choosing. I urge you to stop criminalizing the work of women’s rights defenders, including those who peacefully protest against forced hijab, and abolish forced hijab laws.

Yours sincerely,


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