[JURIST] The semi-official news group Iranian Students’ News Agency [official website] reported on Sunday that an Iranian court has banned a prominent human rights lawyer from practicing law for three years. Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has won numerous awards for her work, stated that she will not appeal the decision.
However, she plans to stage a protest [AP report] outside the Iran Bar Association [official website] headquarters later this week. Sotoudeh claims that the bar association had been under pressure to ban her ever since she was released early from prison last year after being sentenced [JURIST report] in 2011 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.
Sotoudeh has been a prominent figure worldwide since her imprisonment in 2011. In April she was summoned [JURIST report] by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in response to a video posted online showing her 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. In September of last year she was permanently released [JURIST report] after spending over two years in prison. Other prisoners serving prison terms related to the 2009 mass protests were also released. In December 2012 she ended a 49-day hunger strike [JURIST report] in protest of her prison conditions and a travel ban imposed on her family. After judicial authorities agreed to lift the travel ban on Sotoudeh’s daughter, Sotoudeh ended her strike.