Iranian lawyer and prominent human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh [JURIST news archive] was permanently released on Wednesday, after spending over two years in prison. Sotoudeh was serving six-year sentence for her September 2010 arrest and conviction for propaganda and harming national security. Other prisoners serving prison terms related to the 2009 mass protests were also released [Reuters report] on Wednesday. Among the released prisoners was former Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohsen Aminzadeh who was sentenced to six years [JURIST report] in prison for his participation in protesting the 2009 presidential election. It is estimated that the total number of prisoners released is around 10.
Sotoudeh is most widely known for representing political activists following the controversial 2009 presidential election [JURIST news archive] and has worked on several high-profile cases. Sotoudeh was temporarily released [JURIST report] from prison earlier this year. Sotoudeh had angered authorities [Guardian report] by representing political activists and highlighting the execution of juveniles in the country. 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 [official website] 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.