The German Judges Association (DRB) has awarded its Human Rights Prize to the Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who is currently on a hunger strike in an Iranian prison in protest to the conditions of political prisoners.
“Nasrin Sotoudeh has become a symbol of the Iranian civil rights movement through her courage and tireless commitment to human rights and the rule of law,” the presidents of the German Judges Association said on Wednesday.
Barbara Stockinger and Joachim Lüblinghoff stated that now more than ever, Ms. Sotoudeh needs wide international support, and that they wanted to honor her "highly impressive commitment in Iran and to bring her fate to the public attention".
The 57-year-old lawyer and rights activist began a hunger strike at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison on August 11 to protest the "unfair" and "illegal" conditions of political prisoners in Iran. She has demanded the release of political prisoners to protect them from the spread of coronavirus in prisons.
On August 24, Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan shared on social media that his wife's blood sugar levels were dangerously low, and that she had lost a significant amount of weight during the strike.
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Iranian authorities have freed tens of thousands of prisoners since the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, but have refused to grant furlough to political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience, including Sotoudeh.
Sotoudeh, an international award-winning lawyer and rights activist, was been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison and 148 lashes on several charges, including conspiracy against national security, spreading lies and disturbing public opinion.
Earlier this year, Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike to protest the maltreatment of political prisoners vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. She previously staged a 49-day hunger strike in prison in 2012 while she was serving another sentence for her human rights work.
On Wednesday, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde expressed deep concern about Sotoudeh's health and said she wanted to reiterate the EU's call for her sentence to be reviewed.
In a statement on August 28, the American PEN association called for the immediate release of Sotoudeh and other political prisoners, as well as an end to judicial and legal harassment of her and her family.