Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Granted 3-Day Furlough
Imprisoned Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who herself frequently represented imprisoned Iranian opposition activists and politicians, was granted a furlough for three days after spending the past 867 days in prison. For the first time in over two years, Sotoudeh was able to hug her young children. Her furlough meant a great deal to the Iranian social media community, which celebrated her three days of relative “freedom” with messages of support.
As previously mentioned on Cyberdissidents.org, during Sotoudeh’s time in prison, her husband Reza Khandan turned his Facebook page into a virtual news journal, documenting his wife and her fellow inmates’ plight. The bleak pictures he painted with his narratives revealed the difficult conditions for imprisoned dissidents and the deep sadness felt by their families. Her furlough was the first good news in a long time, receiving 300 “shares” and over 1,300 “likes” in less than two hours. The news of Sotoudeh’s furlough was soon all over other Persian-language blogs and Twitter.
Iranian activist Parvaneh Vahidmanesh paraphrased a traditional Persian saying meant to celebrate the coming of an important figure, writing: “That woman arrived That admirable woman arrived.”
Another Iranian activist, Maryam Mirza, wrote: “With this awesome news, it feel like Christmas morning.”
Although happy for Sotoudeh’s brief taste of freedom , Iranian netizen, Niusha Boghrati, stated how unjust the situation really is: “Nasrin is on furlough under bail and she will get to be a mother for only three days.”
Many of the hundreds of Iranian prisoners of conscience are not so lucky. Those with the misfortune of being held captive in the notorious Evin prison on the outskirts of Tehran are routinely abused, denied medical care, and prevented from access to visits from their families. Last month, young Iranian blogger Satar Beheshti died due to injuries sustained while detained at Evin for his work to expose the harsh conditions for prisoners there.