June 13 marked the third anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, and a social media campaign — #StandUp4NASRIN
and #FreeNasrin — has been launched to pay tribute to her and call for the release political prisoners around the world.
Sotoudeh, who has been referred to as the Nelson Mandela of Iran, was sentenced to decades in prison for defending the rights of women, children, religious minorities, journalists, artists and those facing the death penalty in the country. The mother of two children, who was also imprisoned from 2010 to 2013, has survived COVID-19, grave heart ailments, a hunger strike and horrible prison conditions.
Sotoudeh was the subject of an award-winning 2020 documentary titled Nasrin that was secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who risked arrest for their involvement. Director Jeff Kaufman and producer Marcia S. Ross have launched the social media campaign in cooperation with a variety of artists, activists and human rights organizations.
Several people have recorded video messages that will premiere every Monday and Thursday on Nasrin’s YouTube channel. A video from Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights — an American non-profit human rights advocacy organization named after United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy following his 1968 assassination — is the first in the series.
There are almost 20 other participants, including: Amnesty International secretary general Dr. Agnès Callamard; Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman, who narrated Nasrin; Raoul Wallenberg Centre For Human Rights founder and chair Irwin Cotler; National Farm Workers Association (which became United Farm Workers of America) co-founder Dolores Huerta; Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, who performed a song in Nasrin; the musicians of The Kronos Quartet; former East Timor president José Ramos-Horta; American Bar Association president Patricia Refo; and Feminist Majority Foundation executive director Katherine Spillar.
Millions of other people from more than 200 countries have also called for Sotoudeh’s release, including: U.S. President Joe Biden; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; and author Margaret Atwood.