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Prominent Iran human rights lawyer detained

A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has been detained for allegedly spreading propaganda and colluding against national security, her family said Wednesday. Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is most widely known for representing political activists following the controversial 2009 presidential election [JURIST news archive], was summoned to an Iranian prison [BBC report] last week and has not returned home. Her home and office were raided [RFE/RL report] by Iranian officials in August. Several international groups strongly oppose the Iranian government's decision to detain Sotoudeh, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website], which issued a statement condemning [text] the government's action and praising Sotoudeh for her work defending political prisoners.

Sotoudeh has worked on several high-profile cases. She was the lawyer for Arash Rahmanipour, who was arrested for his role in the post-election protests on charges of mohareb, which means being enemies of God. Rahmanipour was executed [JURIST report] in January. Sotoudeh also represented Isa Saharkhiz [Iran Press profile], a well-known press activist who was sentenced [JURIST report] to four years in prison in 2006 for publishing articles against the constitution and offending the state media. Iran continues to be scrutinized internationally for human rights violations. In March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] criticized [JURIST report] the state of human rights in Iran while presenting her annual report. Pillay condemned Iran for the "arbitrary arrest" of, and "harsh sentences, including capital punishment" given to, individuals involved in protests following the presidential elections.

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