A Hong Kong concert organised by the Iranian Consulate on Monday evening was met with protesters who decried the jailing of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Around 20 activists staged a silent protest at the City Hall foyer in Central at around 7:45pm, just before the start of a concert titled “Songs of Persia.”
Venue staff did not intervene, as the protesters revealed black t-shirts stating “Free Nasrin Sotoudeh”
The event was presented by the Iranian Consulate as part of a week-long cultural celebration.
Last June, Sotoudeh was arrested and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader.
Sotoudeh, who has argued in favour of women’s rights and opposed the death penalty, was given a 38-year jail sentence on March 11. She was also sentenced to receive 148 lashes.
“We revealed our t-shirts in a quiet, dignified way, in the lobby… I would say everyone who went into the concert saw our protest,” one of the organisers – who did not wish to be named – told HKFP.
She added that concertgoers took photos, and many already were familiar with Sotoudeh’s plight. One attendee told the group that Sotoudeh was his lawyer.
Sotoudeh’s sentence was denounced by Human Rights Watch, who called it “an appalling travesty of justice” and a threat to “every human rights advocate in Iran.” Representatives from the US, UK and European Parliament also criticised the jailing.
Sotoudeh had previously been jailed between 2010 and 2013, on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security. While in jail she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought – the European Union’s most prestigious human rights award.
Proud to join #HongKong activists tonight in a silent protest for #NasrinSotoudeh We should not enjoy #Iran culture in isolation from the reality for life for its citizens. Nasrin has dedicated her life to #humanrights it’s utterly outrageous she’s being punished. #FreeNasrin pic.twitter.com/vfztfHKMl7
— Bess Hepworth 🏳️🌈 (@bess_hepworth) March 25, 2019
HKFP has contacted the Iranian Consulate for comment.