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Political Prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh



Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, on May 28, 2013, I rose in this place to draw attention to the plight of Nasrin Sotoudeh. It was Iran Accountability Week, and I was speaking under my association with the Iranian Political Prisoner Global Advocacy Project.

This is an initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, co-founded by Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. The initiative pairs parliamentarians around the world with Iranian political prisoners to raise awareness about their cases.

As a fellow lawyer, I had been paired with Nasrin Sotoudeh. When I rose in May, Ms. Sotoudeh was serving a six-year sentence for ‘‘spreading propaganda’’ and ‘‘conspiring to harm state security.’’

Today, I’m pleased to inform you that on September 18, Ms. Sotoudeh was released from prison. She rejoined her family just in time to send her youngest child off to school for the first time. She was among some 80 political prisoners released by the Iranian authorities on that day.

Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, welcomed the move, but he also said:

“It is vital for the country’s future that the voices of all its citizens are permitted to play their rightful part in crafting an inclusive future for Iran in the coming years.”

Honourable senators, I invite you to join me in welcoming Nasrin Sotoudeh’s release and in urging Iran to do more to empty its prisons of an estimated 2,600 prisoners of conscience, and to ensure that the human rights of all Iranians are upheld under the rule of fair and impartial law.