Thank you so much.
Dear chairman and honourable members of the Canadian Parliament, it's such an honour.
I'm reading Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan's letter to you.
Dear chairman and honourable members of the Canadian parliament, hereby I would like to express my greetings and congratulate on international women's day. We are extremely glad that you have decided to honour human rights and women's rights defenders on this important day. I, on behalf of my wife, Nasrin Sotoude, should express my cordial gratitude to have this honour.
I would like to use this opportunity to express my happiness on the release of Ms. Loujain al-Hathloul on behalf of my wife. Although her freedom is conditional, it's my honour to give a speech together with her in the same event.
Women's rights violation has been a serious concern for human rights activists all over the world. In the meantime, countries like Iran have made violation of women's rights systematic and legitimized it by law. In other words, in...Iran women are violated first by common social traditions and second by the government which has legalized these restrictions.
The good news is that in spite of all these restrictions, women try to defend their rights thoroughly and of course there are men who accompany them.
Although our country is located in a region where women are under increasing violence, resistance in women and the change in men's attitudes gradually shows another image. Although misogynistic governments in power are more prevalent in this region rather than the rest of the world and they tend to violate women's rights, women's efforts and the change in the attitude of every single person have led to diminish the courage of misogynistic figures.
Public opinion support for human rights and women's rights defenders has helped women's empowerment. However, these misogynistic governments still show resistance to recognize women's rights.
[In Iran,] sentences which have been made by the revolutionary court against women's rights activists would shock anyone with [a] conscience.
The same courts whose primary goal was to prosecute the former regime's officials are still making harsh verdicts such as life imprisonment, death penalty and long imprisonment for political activists.
My wife's only guilt has been defending these women's rights activists.
It was shocking to see the revolutionary court has given her a sentence of flogging in addition to decades of imprisonment. Such sentences are inconceivable and shocking for lawyers and advocates. However, flogging, such [an] inhumane and cruel sentence, is a clear example of torture for every human being.
The prison that these women have to serve their sentence in is extremely inhumane and mortifying. Qarchak prison located south of Tehran used to be a place to keep livestock. The correctional services organizations, instead of establishing a standard prison, [have] made this place worse than the conditions it used to be, a cramped place without the minimum standards [or] even suitable ventilation.
Most of the cells in this prison are 10 square meters with 12 beds. These rooms have no windows or ventilation. Noting that Iran is among the worst countries regarding the spread of COVID-19. Sewage gas pervades the air all around the prison and this catastrophic condition can make even a healthy person sick.
[Despite all this] repression and pressure, with global solidarity and the support of public opinion, we still hope that all these efforts will culminate in freedom, peace and equality around the world.