‘Nasrin’ Documentary Spotlights Life And Work Of Jailed Iranian Human Rights Lawyer



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Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh with a poster of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, in a scene from the Nasrin documentary.

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People gather outside the Iranian embassy in France on June 13, 2019, to demand the release of imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. «If Iran were a meritocratic country, she would be whom you would want as your minister of justice or even your president,» says Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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In a scene from the documentary Nasrin, Sotoudeh is shown outside a Tehran hospital before her arrest in 2018.

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A large banner in support of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is displayed in Paris in 2019. Sotoudeh is serving a 38-year prison sentence in Iran. Her health has declined after a five-week hunger strike.

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A large banner in support of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is displayed in Paris in 2019. Sotoudeh is serving a 38-year prison sentence in Iran. Her health has declined after a five-week hunger strike.

Pierrot Patrice/Avenir Pictures/Reuters

Sotoudeh launched her hunger strike in August, as COVID-19 ravaged Iran’s prison population. The government had temporarily released tens of thousands of prisoners, according to the U.N., but prominent political prisoners like Sotoudeh were not among them.

Earlier this month a state-approved Iranian news site, noting Sotoudeh’s hunger strike, said that Iran was fulfilling its «duties to fight corruption and national security crimes in the face of psychological warfare from enemy,» Voice of America reported.

Weakened after five weeks surviving on water, tea and salt, Sotoudeh was transferred to a hospital late last month. Tests showed her heart had been damaged but authorities sent her back to prison without needed care, her husband Reza Khandan tells NPR from Tehran.

«The main thing that worries me,» he says, is «what if all these things cause her to have a heart attack?»

Khandan has been a vocal campaigner for the release of his wife. He has criticized Iran’s human rights record on Facebook. After being sentenced to a six-year prison term for «conspiracy against national security,» he is now out on bail.

«I’m not a fighter, I am not the revolutionary in the family,» he says. «But I have to seek justice for Nasrin.»

  • documentary film
  • Iran
  • Human Rights



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