A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested and severely beaten, her husband said Monday – one of several activists taken into custody at the funeral in Tehran of a girl who was fatally injured after a reported confrontation with Iran’s enforcers . strict dress code for women.
The activists were arrested on Sunday at the funeral of Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old who died last week after what many believed was a meeting over not covering her hair on the Tehran metro, in violation of the law imposed by the Shia Islamist government. .
Ms. Sotoudeh, 60, is known for representing women who have not worn a hijab, the traditional headscarf, in public and for refusing to wear one herself. She has been imprisoned several times and was last convicted in a secret trial in 2019 for security-related crimes, but was released in 2021 as she suffers from heart disease and other ailments.
Her husband, Reza Khandan, said in an interview that she called him in the middle of the night to tell him what had happened, including that her glasses had been broken while in custody.
“I think the broken glasses say it all. Nasrin also confirmed the assault and said it was bad,” he said. When she appeared in court Monday morning, he took a pair of her intact glasses, he added, but the guards refused to give them to her.
She was then transferred to Qarchak, a notorious women’s prison outside Tehran.
The Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, accused Ms. Sotoudeh of “violating hijab rules” and “acting against the psychological safety of society,” a violation that the Center for Human Rights in Iran said is not being committed. committed. exist in the Iranian Penal Code.
“I heard that Nasrin had refused to wear a hijab until the very last moment before attending the hearing at the Evin court,” Mr Khandan said.
She had recently focused on her medical care and her family, rather than activism. “Yet Armita’s case affected her deeply and she could not remain silent,” he said. “She already packed her prison suitcase before she left to attend the funeral.”
Ms Geravand’s case remains murky. Iranian state television broadcast security camera footage of her boarding a subway train with her hair uncovered on October 1 and being carried off the train, apparently unconscious, minutes later. Authorities have not released any video from inside the subway.
Farzad Seifikaran, a journalist with Radio Zamaneh, reported that witnesses said that after officers enforcing the dress code confronted Ms. Geravand and two friends, one of the officers pushed her and she hit her head, causing a brain hemorrhage. The government said she collapsed from low blood sugar because she skipped breakfast.
She was declared brain dead on October 23, according to state media.
Her case has parallels with that of Mahsa Amini, who died last year in the custody of the “morality police” who arrested her on charges of violating the hijab law. Her death sparked some of the largest protests in more than four decades of theocratic rule, which human rights groups say were violently suppressed by Iranian security forces, leaving hundreds dead.