Iranian government urged to free human rights activist on hunger strikeListen /
Iranian authorities are being urged to release human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally recognised lawyer, who has been on hunger strike since 17 October and whose health is reportedly deteriorating.
The appeal comes from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay who is extremely concerned about the activist's health.
Ms. Sotoudeh, the winner of this year's prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, is on hunger strike to protest against her prison conditions and the travel ban imposed on members of her family.
She has also been banned from her profession for 10 years on charges that are believed to be linked to her work as a human rights defender.
Spokesperson Rupert Colville says Ms. Sotoudeh was arrested in September 2010 and is serving a six-year sentence in Tehran's Evin Prison.
"Since her arrest, her husband and 12-year-old daughter have been subjected to restrictions including the travel ban. The Iranian authorities claim that Ms. Sotoudeh is in a good health. However her husband, who was recently allowed to visit her, says her health has reached a critical stage. The High Commissioner urges the Government of Iran to urgently address Ms. Sotoudeh's situation by lifting the travel ban and other sanctions on her family, which cannot be justified under international law."
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the government of Iran to promptly release Ms. Sotoudeh and other activists who have been arrested and detained for peacefully promoting human rights in the country.
Gerry Adams, United Nations.