Persian2English: September 4, 2012 marks two years of imprisonment for Nasrin Sotoudeh, prominent lawyer and human rights activist. She has not been allowed furlough during her imprisonment. In a note posted this week on Facebook, Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, described her arrest.
It was Saturday, September 4, 2010. Nasrin had left early in the morning to follow up on some cases. She returned around 10 o’clock. We went to the courtroom that day along with her lawyer, Ms. Ghanavi, but we weren’t prepared for Nasrin’s arrest. In the scorching heat, there was a large crowd gathered in front of the court, making entry into the building very difficult. Nasrin informed a guard that she had been summoned. “They summoned me. If they can’t facilitate my entrance into the building, then I’ll return home. They can then go through the trouble of sending a car to pick me up,” she said. The guard finally opened the way, and Nasrin went through the large crowd and entered the court. She didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to me. She figured she would return within the hour. She didn’t even say goodbye to the kids.
I had been a bit more pessimistic than her. I considered the possibility that they would keep her in jail and solitary confinement to ensure the pressures of imprisonment and being away from her children would force her to [eventually] leave the country. A few minutes later, Ms. Ghanavi exited the court and informed us that she was not permitted to be present during the questioning period. We left shortly after that but returned later with the hopes she would have been freed by then.
At 2:30 p.m. we were under Yadegar-e Imam Bridge. I ran into the father of one of Nasrin’s clients. He told us, “I tried a lot but I have been unable to reach Ms. Sotoudeh by phone. I thought perhaps it would be better to come here to see you.” He was aware that Nasrin had been summoned. He hid behind a column, hoping to run into us and get news on Nasrin.
It was around 3:30 p.m. when Mehraveh [our daughter] called me sounding anxious, “Dad, a rude man called home and told me in a condescending tone to pass the phone to an elder. His phone number was not displayed. Since I was alone, I hung up on him and unplugged the phone so he would be unable to bother us again. I’m calling you from my cell phone.”
After my daughter had called, I quickly returned home. We went together to pick up Nima [our son] from day care. When we were near home, Nima asked where his mother was. I told him that mom would not be home tonight, that she had gone somewhere. His mother being away for a night was not unusual for Nima. However, the thought that his mother might not be there a second night was terrifying.
Tonight is exactly two years since [Nasrin's arrest]. Mehraveh and Nima have been deprived of their mother’s presence for 740 consecutive nights, not just two nights. Despite all the problems, the children have more or less come to terms with the facts. This is about the strength and resilience of human beings– a fact hatemongers tend to ignore.
Once, when we were returning home from a visit with Nasrin in prison, Mehraveh said: “Dad, the female agents who bring mom into the visit hall are very kind. Today, at the end of our visit, when Nima was saying goodbye to mom, one of the female agents stood in a corner and gently wiped her tears away.”
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