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Iran: UN welcomes temporary release of imprisoned human rights defender


Iran: UN welcomes temporary release of imprisoned human rights defender

The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the temporary release of lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is serving a six-year sentence in Iran, and voiced the hope that her leave will be extended and she will soon be released indefinitely.

Ms. Sotoudeh, who was arrested in September 2010, was banned from practising law for 10 years on charges linked to her work as a human rights defender. Last October, she began a hunger strike to protest against her prison conditions as well as a travel ban imposed on her husband and 12-year-old daughter.

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva that Ms. Sotoudeh was granted a three-day temporary leave from Tehran’s Evin Prison and joined her family yesterday.

“The travel restrictions imposed on her family – the issue that caused her to go on hunger strike in the autumn – were lifted in December, so her temporary release marks a second improvement in her case,” he stated.

“We hope that the temporary leave will be extended, and that Ms. Sotoudeh will soon be indefinitely released.”

Last month High Commissioner Navi Pillay urged Iran to promptly release Ms. Sotoudeh and all those activists who have been arrested and detained for peacefully promoting the observance of human rights in the country, noting that the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights which must be protected and respected.