Nasrin Sotoudeh in handcuffs
The first hearing to review whether Nasrin Sotoudeh - human rights lawyer who was the lawyer for many political prisoners - would be disbarred was held today at Iran Bar Association with Nasrin Sotoudeh in attendance. The final result was postponed for a later time and appeal hearing.
Nasrin Sotoudeh embracing her husband Reza Khandan (see high resolution)
This morning (May 29, 2011) Nasrin Sotoudeh was brought in hand-cuffs from Evin prison to Iran Bar Association by two guards and a policewoman to attend the hearing.
In this hearing, which was held in one of the rooms at Iran Bar Association, Ms. Keyhani, member of the board of Iran Bar Association, and a group of lawyers reviewed the case for disbarring Nasrin Sotoudeh and decided to postpone the decision until a later time and appeal hearing.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to eleven years of prison last August. A while ago, judiciary demanded that she also be disbarred but after the bar association got involved in the case, it took over the review.
According to the lawyers present in the closed hearing, this action of the bar association is an attempt to defend the rights of lawyers and they hope that the bar association at this sensitive historic time make a decision in favour of defending the rights of lawyers.
Although, Nasrin Sodoudeh in letters to her husband and to the court had emphasised that with or without a license, she is opposed to the sentences issued for her clients and wrote: "My beloved Reza, as long as such unjust sentences exist and the Revolutionary Court continues to render such shocking rulings, with or our without a license to practice the law, I will continue to object these sentences, for one does not need a license in order to object to unjust sentences. Tell them they can revoke my license if they wish to do so, but don't strip me of my right to justice."
Sotoudeh attended the hearing with a smiling face and great confidence which gave strength to the attendees and women's rights activists who had come to the bar association to see Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Nasrin Stoodeh's letter to her husband
(full English translation)
My dear Reza,
Much has been said about the loneliness associated with prison. I want to share prison life with you, for it somehow takes you off guard. Can you imagine the environment that the new generation has created in prison? The same surprising environment that currently exists outside prison is also pervasive within these prison walls, creating a new form of existence both within our society and behind bars. This existence is at times happy and upbeat, at times calm and demure, at times watchful and analytical, but always tolerant and willing to compromise; a tolerance that will eventually lead us to achieve our goals. You know better than anyone that much like running water that over time creates fissures in rocks, it is our tolerance and flexibility that will be eventually remove the obstacles from our paths.
Nasrin Sotoudeh embracing her husband Reza Khandan
My dear Reza, everyone ponders about their freedom while in prison. Although my freedom is also important to me, it is not more important than the justice that has been ignored and denied. Like many other prisoners, I too dream of going on a trip with my family, or to walk freely under the rain, to gaze upon the trees in the alley, or to spend the afternoon with my kids in a park. Do you remember by the way, the joy with which the three of us greeted you every afternoon when you came home from work? We were a happy family and despite the threats by my interrogator during that first interrogation session when he threatened to obliterate me and my husband from the face of this earth, we remain happy; for my interrogator did not realize that happiness lies within an individuals heart. It goes without saying that I would like to have all these things and that they are all important to me, but nothing is more important than those hundreds of years of sentences that were rendered to my clients and other freedom seeking individuals, accused of crimes they had not committed. Though I had the privilege of representing only a few, I will continue to object to their unjust sentences regardless of whether or not I have a license to practice the law.
They are holding a trial in order to revoke my license to practice the law; a license that I always tried to use with honor. Even if my license is taken from me by a government some day, they cannot strip me of my honor; and that is all I need.
My beloved Reza, as long as such unjust sentences exist and the Revolutionary Court continues to render such shocking rulings, with or our without a license to practice the law, I will continue to object these sentences, for one does not need a license in order to object to unjust sentences. Tell them they can revoke my license if they wish to do so, but don't strip me of my right to justice.
Ward for Female Political Prisoners
May 2011 [Khordad 1390]
Source: The Feminist School; with special thanks to Banooye Sabz for English translation
Visit Nasrin Sotoudeh's facebook to learn about the international campaign on her behalf.
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