Letter of Nasrin Sotoudeh on Revolutionary Court’s judgments issued for her
Fellow Iranians and Human Rights Activists:
With greetings on the occasion of the New Year, and with compliments for the support I received that was beyond my expectation, I would like to hereby comment on the judgments issued by the Revolutionary Court against me. I would also like to use this opportunity to declare that all judgments of the Revolutionary Court are issued under almost identical circumstances, and to clarify to what extent non-presence of a counsel at public prosecutor’s office, and often at courts, violates the rights of defendants, and to clarify how it would be possible to show to others to such an extent the enormous taboo of covering women’s hair.
I would like to remind that my actions were only performing my tasks; meanwhile, I should comment as the following regarding the verdicts issued:
As per the judgment in absentia issued in the year ended 20 March 2017, I had been convicted to five years imprisonment for assembly and collusion to disrupt national security, with my sit-in before the Bar Association given as evidence.
After my arrest on 13 June 2018, a new case was started for me with seven charges, resulting in the following convictions and respective verdicts:
Assembly and collusion to disrupt national security, 7.5 years
Membership in LEGAM (a campaign for the gradual elimination of capital punishment), 7.5 years
Promotional activity against the regime, 1.5 years
Stoking corruption and prostitution, 12 years
Appearance in public without wearing religious veil, 74 lashes
Falsification intended to discompose public opinion, 3 years imprisonment plus 74 lashes
Distortion of public order and convenience, 2 years
Verdicts issued against me are 38.5 years plus 138 lashes in aggregate.
As per Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code, when multiple charges exist, the judge shall determine the verdict for each charge separately, and in the enforcement stage, firstly the severest verdict shall be enforced.
In this case, the severest verdict is 12 years imprisonment which shall be enforced first. But the principal question is on the fate of other verdicts. Article 134 further stipulates “… if the severest verdict become reduced, adjusted or unenforceable for a legal reason, the next severest verdict shall be enforced.” Therefore, under such circumstances, the fates of all verdicts should be determined to result in the release of the convict.
In this judgment, the judge has:
Firstly, regarded as a manifestation of corruption and prostitution my attorneyship in cases related to the Girls of Enghelab Avenue as well as my putting a bunch of flowers on the podium in Enghelab Avenue;
Secondly, used obscene literature in reference to the Girls of Enghelab Avenue, which is in itself subject to criminal prosecution; and
Thirdly, held the hearings without presence of the defendant and counsel, expressly prohibiting the counsel from presence in the public prosecutor’s office stage of the hearings, which is stipulated in the indictment.
In this case, like in many other cases, fair judgment fundamentals are disregarded, and accordingly I am not inclined to take part in this unfair game in any way. Let the Revolutionary Court judges play solo. Meanwhile, the important thing is that the majority, almost all, verdicts of Revolutionary Court are issued with violation of fair judgment fundamentals.
I use this opportunity to remind this trend is so extensive and systematic that [in analyzing it] many convicts are neglected. A large number of political and civil activists and believers in other opinions and religions all face the dangers of unfair judgment where the presence of a counsel is not allowed, and the court does not require reasons and evidence from security authorities and does not give the defendant sufficient time to defend.
This is the scene of the courts which issue decades-long verdicts for individuals who have undergone, and are undergoing, years of their imprisonment under difficult circumstances.
Soon the sun of justice shall shine on our land too, and we practice patience and peace for that day to come, so that we may fulfill our aim in this way.