Nasrin Sotoudeh and supporters staged a protest outside the Lawyers Club today, February 2, calling for authorities to reinstate her licence to practice. The human rights lawyer stood her ground, despite being threatened by security guards.
The following is Muhammad Nourizad’s account of today’s events, as published on his Facebook page. Nourizad, a celebrated journalist and filmmaker, has been a prominent activist since speaking out against the violence that followed the 2009 disputed presidential election.
Roaring Like a Lion
Today, Mrs. Sotoudeh, Dr Maleki [pro-democracy activist Mohammad Maleki] and I went to the Lawyers Club. Mrs Sotudeh took us aside and said the chairman of the Lawyers Club, Dr Ali Najafi Tavana, had personally instructed security guards to challenge us. I said that was exactly what was happening today and that either Tavana is feeling guilty or he sees Mrs Sotoudeh’s presence as a threat. Though they know the details of your case, I said to Mrs Sotoudeh, the Lawyers Club is unable to help you.
Soon after, a security guard came toward us and began shouting at one of the protesters, a young boy, telling him to leave. Nasrin Sotoudeh roared at him like a lion. ”I’m responsible for this protest and you should leave my friends alone,” she shouted.
The guards said everyone had to leave. “You and Mr Nourizad can stay,” they told her. Then they warned that if people did not disperse, they would be forced to take “other action.” He was very angry. “We’ve seen your ‘other action,’ I told him.
The argument between the guards and Nasrin Sotoudeh was heated. “My friends and I will stay here as long as we like,” she shouted. “Unless acting illegally has become a new law, we have the right to be here. Follow your orders — we are not afraid of you.”
The father of Mostafa Karim Beigi, one of those killed during protests on December 27, 2009, stepped forward. He told the guard, “Don’t try to scare us. We who have lost our children because of this kind of behavior, we will not be intimidated by your threats.”
Then it was Dr Maleki’s turn. He walked up to the guard. “Last time you threatened me with execution. I’m prepared for that. Tell me where to go and I’ll go there.”
After this, the guards stepped back a little. We will see how they react tomorrow.
Mr Reza Khandan [Nasrin Sotudeh’s husband] arrived later, when the situation was a little calmer. I told him, “I took some photographs of your wife looking like you’ve never seen her before. It was like it wasn’t Nasrin. It was a roaring lion, scaring the guards.
Even after the guards threatened us, no one left the protests. We had no fear.
13 Bahman 93
(February 2, 2015)