Tehran, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh halts hunger strike
The activist on hunger strike since 11 August to raise awareness of the risks for detainees in time of the new coronavirus pandemic. On 19 September she ended up in hospital for heart problems. Four days later she was returned to her cell. The appeal of NGOs and activists for her release and adequate medical care. She is serving of 38 and a half years in prison and 148 lashes.
Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, sentenced to prison and whipped for defending the women campaigning against the mandatory headscarf, has halted her hunger strike for health reasons, her husband Reza Khandan posted the news on social media.
The activist began the protest on 11 August last in Evin prison, on the outskirts of Tehran, to raise public awareness of the risks that prisoners run with the pandemic of new coronavirus underway.
On 19 September, Nasrin Sotoudeh was rushed to hospital for severe heart failure. However, only four days later the authorities decided to take her back to prison, stopping her treatment and raising the disappointment and bewilderment of human rights NGOs and independent UN experts.
It is unfathomable that the Iranian authorities would return Ms. Sotoudeh to prison where she is at heightened risk to COVID-19, as well as with her serious heart condition," the experts said.
"We urge the authorities to immediately reverse this decision, accept her requests to recuperate at home before undergoing a heart procedure, and allow her to freely choose her own medical treatment," they added in a statement.
Experts and activists have relaunched the battle of the advocate, for the leaders of Tehran to grant bail to lawyers, human rights defenders, people incarcerated with dual nationality, prisoners of conscience and politicians and to those in cells without clear charges. The release must be granted to them, explains the note, in the current context of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent months, the new coronavirus has affected almost 450,000 people and killed over 25,000, according to official estimates from Johns Hopkins University.
In recent weeks, Nasrin Sotoudeh, in prison since June 2018 and winner of the EU Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2012, has fed only on water, tea, sugar and salt, raising concern in the among friends and of family members. The woman has to serve a sentence of 38 and a half years in prison, plus 148 lashes. At least 12 years must elapse before applying for bail.
The widely respected lawyer was also jailed from 2010 to 2013 over her defense of sensitive political cases. In 2015, she protested for several weeks to be allowed to continue practicing law. Despite her imprisonment, Sotoudeh has remained outspoken. She also went on a hunger strike in March to protest prison conditions.