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Iran human rights lawyer temporarily released from prison

Iranian lawyer and prominent human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh [JURIST news archive] was temporarily released from prison on Thursday, after spending over two years in prison, her husband said. Sotoudeh left prison in Tehran for three days and was greeted Thursday by her husband and two children. Sotoudeh is serving six years in prison for her September 2010 arrest and conviction for propaganda and harming national security. Sotoudeh angered authorities [Guardian report] by representing political activists and highlighting the execution of juveniles in the country. Iranian authorities did not give a reason [Reuters report] for temporarily freeing Sotoudeh. Many activists and and campaigners believe that the charges against Sotoudeh are false and merely reflect the authorities's objection to Sotoudeh's internationally recognized human rights activism.

In December Sotoudeh ended a 49-day hunger strike [JURIST report] in protest of her prison conditions and a travel ban imposed on her family. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had expressed concern for Sotoudeh's deteriorating health and urged the Iranian government to lift the travel ban, saying the ban was not justified by international law. After judicial authorities agreed to lift the travel ban on Sotoudeh's daughter, Sotoudeh ended her strike. Sotoudeh was sentenced in January 2011 to 11 years in prison after being found guilty of "acting against national security" and "making propaganda against the system" for which she will serve five and one years, respectively.

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