November 10, 2020

Nasrin Sotoudeh Tests Positive for Covid

News broke today that Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for Covid-19. We continue to follow the case of the renowned Iranian human rights lawyer, who is serving an egregious 38-year prison sentence on spurious charges and one of the most severe sentences for a human rights defender in Iran.

Some welcome news came November 7th that Sotoudeh was granted temporary release from Iran’s infamous Qarchak prison and photos were shared of Sotoudeh going home, and with her daughter. However, this was before reports today confirmed that she tested positive for Covid after her release. Sotoudeh broke a 45-day hunger strike—in protest of prison conditions, fear of spreading Covid, and the plight of prisoners of conscience—on September 26th due to her deteriorating health.

We are deeply concerned for Sotoudeh’s health, will continue to follow the situation closely, and wish her a speedy recovery. Though Iranian authorities took a positive step in releasing her to receive proper medical treatment, Nasrin Sotoudeh should never have been imprisoned in the first place. Sotoudeh should remain permanently free and Iranian authorities must adhere to their human rights obligations by freeing all prisoners of conscience. Sotoudeh is celebrated internationally for her commitment to human rights and defending the rights and lives of ordinary Iranians. It is not just reprehensible, but tragic that she is treated as a criminal at home.

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