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Jailed Iranian Lawyer Resumes Hunger Strike

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Jailed Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has resumed her hunger strike in Tehran's Evin prison, her husband has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, told Radio Farda on November 4 that his wife had begun a second dry hunger strike to protest the conditions in which she is being held and the lack of progress in investigating her case.

Khandan said his wife has become extremely weak due to the conditions and her hunger strike.

He said that on October 23 Sotoudeh ended her first hunger strike -- which lasted 24 days -- after being promised better conditions and that "appropriate" attention would be given to her case. But he said she resumed the strike when those pledges were not met.

Khandan said that on October 31, Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi visited a number of detainees in Evin prison, including Sotoudeh. But he said Dolatabadi failed to persuade her not to resume her hunger strike.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, who is also a lawyer, told Radio Farda on November 4 that "we are all worried for her as it is the third day of her dry hunger strike against the extreme physical and mental pressure that she is facing in prison as well as the denial of a fair trial or her legal rights as a prisoner...despite the assurance of the prosecutor."

Ebadi stressed that it is the terrible conditions in which Sotoudeh is being held that made her "compromise her physical health to such an extent."

She told Radio Farda a campaign has been launched in support of Sotoudeh, and an international lawyers' association has recently honored her.

Meanwhile, Ebadi said the High Commission of the UN Human Rights Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have been informed about her situation.