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Iran human rights lawyer summoned for questioning

[JURIST] Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh [Freedom Now backgrounder], has been summoned by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry according to a post on her husband's Facebook page [in Arabic] Tuesday. The summons are thought to be in response to a video [YouTube video, in Arabic] posted online showing Sotoudeh giving a speech that voices support for what she calls "prisoners of conscience" in Iran. The video criticized Iran as "a big prison" and denounced the treatment of Mehdi Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi, both reformist leaders who have been held under house arrest since 2011. The summons was made [Reuters report] by a phone call on Sunday, and was reportedly referred to as "illegal" by Sotoudeh's husband, who also stated that the summons would be ignored. He told [Iranian.com report] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty interviewers that since summons must be performed through the judiciary via an official written summons, the phone call was an illegal form that required no response. Sotoudeh has been at odds with the Iranian government over her human rights efforts, including having been sentenced to six years in prion in 2010 for allegedly spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.

Iran's human rights record has been a constant source of international concern. In late February UN independent experts expressed [JURIST report] concern over the extent of Iran's imposition of the death penalty and the recent uptick in the frequency of executions by hanging. According to Amnesty International [advocacy website], as of January 18 the Iranian government had executed [JURIST report] 40 individuals since the beginning of 2014, and carried out approximately 625 executions during 2013. Earlier in January several international human rights groups collectively urged [JURIST report] the Iranian government to end its state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT individuals. Iranian law criminalizes many forms of non-traditional sexual expression and imposes harsh penalties, such as 100 lashes for sex between women and the death penalty for sex between men. In November the UN Human Rights Council indicated [JURIST report] in its annual report that the human rights situation in Iran required "new focus." In September, Nasrin Sotoudeh was permanently released [JURIST report] from prison after serving two years of her six-year sentence from her 2010 conviction.

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