The Law Society of England and Wales has renewed its call for the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The 55-year-old lawyer was detained in June 2018 after agreeing to defend women arrested for demonstrating against Iran’s hijab laws. 

In a letter to the head of the country’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Chancery Lane repeats concerns raised in a protest sent with other bar associations last August against Sotoudeh's detention in connection with her legitimate rights as an attorney. 

The letter notes that Iran has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which obliges states to ensure that lawyers are free to carry out professional duties. It calls on the authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Sotoudeh, withdraw all charges against her, vacate any convictions imposed in her absence and without notice to her, and put an end to all acts of harassment against her; 
  • Ensure that all authorities strictly comply with and act in accordance with the due process rights of Ms. Sotoudeh guaranteed by the UN covenant;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Iran enjoy and carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment; and to now.

According to latest reports by Iranian human rights organisations, Sotoudeh had been due to go on trial on unknown charges on 23 December.