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Iranian Human Rights Lawyer On Hunger Strike

Nasrin Sotoudeh
Nasrin Sotoudeh
Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is on a hunger strike to protest the poor conditions she says exist in Tehran's Evin prison where she's being held, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, told Radio Farda on October 6 that he finally received a brief telephone call from her after nearly three weeks without any contact.

"After 18 days of total silence, I could hear my wife for only three seconds," Khandan said. "I could not talk at all. She just said she has been on a hunger strike from September 25."

He added that "she just said 'threat.' She wanted to say she has been threatened by [the authorities]."

Sotoudeh, 47, has represented Iranian political activists and prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18.

Khandan told Radio Farda that the previous time he spoke to his wife she told him she would start a hunger strike unless the prison wardens allowed her to speak to her family once every four days. Sotoudeh and Khandan have two children aged 3 and 10 years.

"I did not announce this news [of the hunger strike] as she is being kept in solitary confinement and nobody is with her," he said. "I was not sure when exactly she started the hunger strike, but she told me yesterday that she started on September 25."

Khandan is concerned about the conditions in which his wife is being held. "The atmosphere that pervaded our conversation was fear; I could feel it from her tone of voice," he said.

It remains unclear what charges Sotoudeh faces. Khandan told Radio Farda that Sotoudeh's lawyer, Nasim Ghanavi, was with her on the first day of the revolutionary court hearing.

"Ghanavi was told that as Sotoudeh's file is at the interrogation stage, she may not have access to the file or visit Sotoudeh in prison," Khandan told Radio Farda.