Home > Articles > Nasrin Sotoudeh: A mother, a lawyer, an activist… / Azadeh Davachi

Nasrin Sotoudeh: A mother, a lawyer, an activist… / Azadeh Davachi

translated by: Roja Bandari

Wednesday 8 September 2010, by admin

Feminist School:Nasrin Sotoudeh was born in 1963 in a religious middle class family. She completed her studies in International Law in Shahid Beheshti University in early 90’s. Nasrin Sotoudeh began her socio-political activism as the only female author in the “Daricheh Goftegoo†publication. This publication was run by a group of individuals with Nationalist-Religious (Melli-Mazhabi) leanings.

As her first work in the field of women’s rights, Sotoudeh prepared a diverse collection of interviews, reports, and articles on the occasion of March 8th to be published in the special issue of Daricheh. The collection was rejected by the editor in chief of the publication; yet the rejection made Sotoudeh even more determined in her work for women’s rights.

Nasrin Sotoudeh married Reza Khandan in 1994 and had two children (Mehraveh, a 11-year old girl, and Nima, a 3-year old boy). Nasrin has emphasized that her spouse, Reza Khandan, has been beside her in many of the difficulties and turbulent times of their lives and has helped her in fulfilling her social activities and legal work.

After completing her Masters degree in International Law from Shahid Beheshti University, Sotoudeh took and passed the bar exam successfully in 1995. However, her permit to practice law was not given to her for another eight years.

Sotoudeh’s work did not remain limited to her legal profession and representation of her clients. She also worked to raise awareness in social and political areas. At the time of chain assassinations [-a series of murders and disappearances of Iranian intellectuals and dissidents in the 90s-] many of her colleagues and friends [were under pressure and] were being summoned for questioning. Sotoudeh felt compelled to inform them of their basic legal rights during summoning and interrogation proccesses. She prepared pamphlets titled Political Crimes and distributed them throughout different meetings and gatherings.

During the reform years, in addition to her social and legal activism, she worked as a journalist in reformist newspapers. Her first article on women’s rights was published in “Jame’e†newspaper. After receiving her license to practice law, she officially began her work as an attorney and she has been working tirelessly especially in the areas of human rights and children’s rights ever since. Sotoudeh took on her first case in the area of women’s rights a year after the start of her legal career. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign and the widespread growth of the women’s rights movement, she represented many women’s rights activists and especially Campaign activists fully pro-bono and without the smallest monetary expectation.

Her work with Shirin Ebadi in the area of women’s rights increased Sotoudeh’s interest in this field. She began proposing work on women’s rights in official meetings with her colleagues. Although in the beginning these topics were not received with enthusiasm, she continued her work without losing hope. In recent years Sotoudeh became more acquainted with different women’s rights activists and was able to adopt more cases of women’s rights activists.

Sotoudeh is a member of the board of directors of the Society for Defense of Children’s Rights and one of the first members of the One Million Signatures Campaign. She became one of the distinguished and dedicated lawyers supporting this campaign and many Campaign activists who were arrested were able to appear in court with reliance on her immense and sincere support and hard work. Since the start of the Campaign until a few days ago when she was arrested, Nasrin was the legal representative for many Campaign activists. The first of such cases against Campaign activists was on a March 8th event in Daneshjoo park. Following the historical gathering of women on June 12th 2006 in Haft-Tir square, which lead to the arrest and summoning of several of the participants and organizers, Nasrin Sotoudeh along with Shirin Ebadi and Leyla Ali-Karami took on the responsibility of defending these activists in court.

As a result of Nasrin Sotoudeh’s legal work and her representation of several women’s rights activists in courts, the International Human Rights Organization of Italy (a non governmental human rights institute) awarded her the International Human rights award of Italy in 2008. The award ceremony took place in the city of Mirano in Italy on December 10 –the anniversary of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN. Unfortunately Nasrin was placed on a travel ban as she was departing for the award acceptance ceremony and was therefore unable to attend.

During the 1388 presidential election, Sotoudeh took part in forming the “Coalition of Women’s Rights Movement to voice their demands in the election†and participated in election activism to raise awareness about women’s demands in the public sphere and make them heard by the candidates. After the election, she showed her commitment to equal rights and citizens’ right to choose in elections by supporting the Green Coalition of Women’s Rights Movement.

In addition to representing the cases of women’s rights activists, Nasrin Sotoudeh has adopted many cases of political activists, cases of child-abuse victims, child executions (execution sentences given to defendants under 18 years of age), as well as cases of some individuals who were sentenced to execution after the 1388 presidential election unrest.

On September 4th, a few days after the search of her home and office, Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned to the special court resident in Evin prison. After appearing at the location, she was arrested with charges of “propaganda against the state†and “conspiracy to disturb order†. She was taken to Evin prison.

Source in Persian:http://www.iranianfeministschool.info/spip.php?article5692

You can find Some articles of Nasrin Sotoudeh in the following links:

Hanging of Juveniles Under the Age of 18 in Iran / Nasrin Sotoudeh

Execution of Minors and soghra’s file/ Nasrin Sotoodeh

In Honour of Nasrin Sotoudeh

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