The European Film Academy and the Berlin International Film Festival has called for “the immediate and unconditional release” of writer, human rights lawyer, and activist Nasrin Sotoudeh.
The joint statement reads: “Sotoudeh is the last passenger in Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Tehran (2015), winner of the Golden Bear, where she openly talks about her commitment to political prisoners and takes the audience by storm with her energetic and joyful way. Together with the director, Nasrin Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s 2012 Sakharov Prize. She is one of Iran’s most prominent voices of conscience and has long been targeted by the Iranian government.”
The statement continues: “Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in June 2018 on ambiguous charges connected to her work as an attorney and was sentenced to over 30 years in jail and 148 whiplashes. She is currently being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran where she has begun a second hunger strike on 11 August to protest the regime’s refusal to release political prisoners during the pandemic. She is now in critical condition must be released immediately to seek medical care.”
Sotoudeh features in 40 Million: The Struggle for Women’s Rights in Iran (2020) about the women’s movement in Iran, directed by Jeff Kaufman.
European Film Academy Chairman, and film producer, Mike Downey commented: “Imprisoned Iranian activists have very few tools left in their arsenals with which they can raise their voices – Nasrin’s hunger strike is more or less all the power she has left. It is therefore crucial that we in the international community raise our voices on her behalf, and join PEN’s petition for her release. The current situation in Iranian jails for political prisoners has become more and more terrifying as Covid-19 rages through the institutions. Basic overcrowding, lack of simple hygenic measures like cleaning products and hot water alongside a complete absence of disinfection procedures in prison wards and common areas makes the prisons a hotbed for the communication of the virus. She was hospitalised on Monday and is in very bad shape.”
EFA and Berlinale encourage as many as people as possible to sign PEN’s petition for the immediate release of Nasrin Sotoudeh at: