Imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, the winner of the 2012 Sakharov Prize, has reportedly dwindled down to 95 pounds as her hunger strike enters its 42nd day.
“Iranian officials have denied Sotoudeh, a leading women’s rights champion, medical care during her more than six-week hunger strike and have kept her in solitary confinement,” said Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokesperson,
“We remain concerned for Sotoudeh’s well-being given Iran’s history of withholding treatment from prisoners and allowing them to die from hunger strikes,” she said. “We demand the Iranian Government cease its intolerable mistreatment of Sotoudeh and immediately release her and the more than 30 other female political prisoners detained in Evin Prison.”
A founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, the lawyers’ association led by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, Sotoudeh represented many activists detained in the wake of the Green movement upsurge following the contested presidential elections in 2009.
Sentenced to 11 years in jail for “activities against national security” and “propaganda against the regime,” she was also banned from practicing law or traveling for 20 years. The sentencing provoked a chorus of international condemnation.
Before her arrest, Sotoudeh had spoken out against the unannounced execution of one of her clients. While jailed at Evin Prison, Sotoudeh has protested the restrictions placed on her husband and 12-year-old daughter, who are barred from leaving the country. Her family has also agitated against not being allowed to hug their mother on visits. In October she went on hunger strike.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, her husband Reza Khandan said, “The most visible thing was her severe weight loss, her gaunt face, and her hollowed eyes.” Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike for more than 40 days.