Incarcerated Rights Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh was granted a short visit with her children on Monday. However, her husband was not granted permission to accompany the children for this visit.
Reza Khandan, Nasring’s husband gave an interview on Sunday to Jaras news site voicing his concern regarding Nasrin being incarcerated in solitary confinement while on a hunger strike.
Following is translation of the interview conducted by Jaras with Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan on Sunday November 11th:
Mr. Khandan did you have a visit with Mrs. Sotoudeh today?
“This morning we finally received a letter from the Prosecution indicating that the children have been granted face-to-face meeting with their mother. But after waiting three to four hours (in Evin’s waiting room), the administrative office closed for the day and we left without the children having seeing their mother.”
Despite an approval letter from the Prosecutor, why do you think they did that?
“I really don’t know, they never give us any reason.
Our experience shows that if they want something to happen, they will make it happen in 2-3 minutes, but if they don’t intend for it to happen or they just want to harass or make things difficult for us, they won’t. Just like today, despite orders from the Prosecutor, the children were not able to see their mother.”
When was the last time you were able to visit your wife?
“Of course, my intention on Monday last week was not just to visit her. I had asked the officials to allow me to see her so I could perhaps convince her to halt her hunger strike. I have no more information or news about her since that date.
I only know that the prison officials went to the general ward (Ward 350), collected from the cellmates a book, prescription glasses, and a heating pad, and gave them to her.
Of course this very bad news for us. It shows that her cell is without minimum facilities and is cold. Probably due to her hunger strike, her blood pressure dropped, and she suffers physical weakness and chills, thus the reason for the heating pad.”
What was her physical condition?
“You can’t even imagine how weak she had become. She was weak prior to launching the hunger strike and her condition is now even worse. Her condition is extremely worrisome.
The fact that they didn’t bring her for a visit today, shows that she is probably not in a good condition, was perhaps in the clinic, or her condition was so dire that the officials deemed our visit should not take place.
In any case, until we actually see her we won’t know her condition. I sincerely hope that the officials promptly return her to the General Ward and/or grant us a visit.”
How long has it been since your wife was transferred to Ward 209 Solitary Confinement?
“Since Sunday last week when they “Illegally” transferred my wife to Ward 209 (under the control of the Intelligence Ministry).
This section is for newly arrested people who are going under interrogation and investigation. My wife is serving her sentence. So transferring her to this Ward is illegal. In addition, they have illegally denied her visitation rights.
Also, the recently issued punishment order only indicated transfer solitary confinement, and does not mention Ward 209 nor does it contain a ban on visits.”
Do you know if the messages from various political and civil activists urging her to halt her hunger strike have reached her?
“No not at all. Just think, she is confined within four walls, has absolutely no contact with the outside world and does not have any news from anywhere.”
Do you think the officials have told her that the other female political prisoners have halted their hunger strike?
“Certainly she does not know. Even if the officials have told her about them ending their hunger strike, she does not trust them and will not believe them. She will not believe this news until she hears it from her own family.
Although, my wife’s hunger strike was not related to the the other female political prisoners’ hunger strike, if she still thinks they are on hunger strike, she won’t break her hunger strike.”
If they allow you to visit her and tell her that the other women political prisoners have halted their hunger strike, and tell her of all the others urging her to halt her strike, do you think she will?
“I do hope they grant us a visit so I can inform her of all of these and try to convince her to halt her hunger strike. Of course my wife wants these cases to be closed. She is especially upset about the case of our daughter.
Unfortunately our last meeting took place in a more crowded atmosphere and I was not able to speak with her, but she was calmer than the previous visits. For this reason, I requested that they grant her a visit with myself, together with the children, so I could try to convince her to halt her hunger strike. Unfortunately they would did not allow us the visit.”
Would you like to say anything else?
Well, when a prisoner who is on a hunger strike in the general ward, and encounters health problems, in an emergency case, their cellmates can inform the authorities. Then if necessary, the prisoner be taken to the medical clinic. Unfortunately, Nasrin is in Ward 209 solitary confinement, and only very few times this has occurred (taking her to the clinic).
If Nasrin was in the general ward with the other female political prisoners, they could have tried to convince her to break her hunger strike, or even messages from others could reach her urging her to stop her hunger strike.
But now, in the current situation, she is in solitary confinement and her contact with others has been cut off. Since nothing is predictable; something awful may happen to her at any moment. For this reason, we urge the authorities to take action and transfer her to the General Ward at Evin, before it’s too late.”