MtM x Amnesty Masterclass: Iranian human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

In Iran, the authorities heavily suppress the rights to freedom of expression. Hundreds of people are in prison for peacefully exercising their human rights. Among them are protesters, journalists, artists and human rights defenders. In recent years there’s been an alarming rise in the use of the death penalty against protesters and dissidents. The government also intensified their crackdown against women’s rights defenders campaigning against discriminatory forced veiling laws, sentencing some to prison were they’re face a high risk of torture.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is one of those women’s rights defenders. She is an impressively determined human rights lawyer, whose optimism and calm fighting spirit are awe-inspiring. But right now, she is paying an enormous price for her courage. Following two grossly unfair trials in 2016 and 2018, she is serving a 38-year prison sentence and 148 lashes. She was convicted for her peaceful human rights work, including opposing Iran’s abusive, degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws and the death penalty.

This masterclass was a collaboration between Amnesty International and Movies that Matter during the Movies that Matter Festival 2021. Prior to the masterclass, visitors could watch the film Nasrin. The film paints a portrait of her work and life, up until her second imprisonment in 2018, and of the broader Iranian women’s rights movement. One of the protagonists in the film, human rights activist and friend of Nasrin, Mansoureh Shojaee, joined this masterclass and provided an even more personal insight in Nasrin’s life as well as discuss Iran’s human rights movement.