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Jailed Iranian Lawyer Declines Family Visits

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
A prominent human rights lawyer jailed in Iran has refused prison visits by her family after they were roughly treated by prison staff, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan told Radio Farda that he visited his wife two weeks ago along with their children and her sister.

Khandan said that during that visit, a member of the prison staff illegally tried to grab his notebook from him. Another staff member tried to take away Sotoudeh's sister's cell phone by force, he added.

When they protested that treatment, all four were detained for several hours, Khandan said. No food was provided for the children -- an 11-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son -- during that time.

Khandan said Sotoudeh has written to the judiciary chief and head of the prosecutor's office at Evin prison saying she prefers not to see her family as their safety cannot be guaranteed on the prison premises. Khandan said his wife also objected to being deprived of phone calls since May.

Sotoudeh represented a number of political prisoners arrested during the unrest following the June 2009 presidential election.

She was jailed for 11 years in January for "acting against national security" and for being a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center founded by Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.

The case is considered to be part of a broader crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in Iran.

Read more in Persian here