RFL/RE – Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose health has “seriously deteriorated” since her arrest three years ago, has been granted a five-day treatment leave from prison.
Sotoudeh will undergo various medical examinations, according to a post her husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on his Facebook page,
“Nasrin has come home on treatment leave for five days,” he wrote in the post, which also showed a picture of Sotoudeh and her two children after her temporary release from the Gharchak women’s prison in Tehran.
Activists have pressured Iranian authorities for months to release Sotoudeh. Instead, last year they transferred her to another prison that was farther away from her family.
Sotoudeh was arrested in June 2018 after representing opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarves.
She was later sentenced to a combined 38 1/2 years in prison and 148 lashes on charges including spying, spreading propaganda, and insulting Iran’s supreme leader. Under Iranian law, she will need to serve 12 years in prison, the longest of her sentences.
Late last year she was granted a temporary release, but was returned to prison in December 2020.
UN experts have said the Gharchak women’s prison is “overcrowded” and has “serious” sanitary issues.
Khandan said in November 2020 that Sotoudeh had contracted COVID-19 while in the prison, where he said conditions were particularly “catastrophic.”
Khandan has also been targeted for challenging compulsory veiling laws, having received a six-year prison sentence in a ruling that can be enforced at any time.