10252014Sat

Iran MPs to look into case of hunger-striking lawyer - report

By Yeganeh Torbati

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian legislators are to visit Tehran's Evin prison and look into the case of an imprisoned lawyer on hunger strike there amid concerns over her deteriorating condition, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist, is serving a six-year jail sentence after being arrested in September 2010 on suspicion of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.

Sotoudeh began a hunger strike on October 17, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), in protest against a travel ban placed on her young daughter and authorities' limits on visits with her family.

The parliamentary committee has decided to visit Evin, where Sotoudeh is being held, to determine if conditions there conform to the law, legislator Mohammad Hassan Asfari told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) on Sunday.

"If the stories regarding Ms. Sotoudeh are true, we will request an explanation from (the justice minister)," Asfari was quoted as saying by ILNA.

The committee would intervene in the case if Sotoudeh's claims were genuine but would do nothing if her actions were to "create a controversy", Asfari added.

Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh's husband, told Reuters in an email on Monday that he welcomed the parliament's visit to Evin.

"In this situation of silence and ignorance and indifference on the part of those involved, this is good news," he said. "My wife has a clear condition for stopping her hunger strike, and that is the suspension of the judiciary's case against our daughter ... this is a legal request."

Khandan said he had visited Sotoudeh on Sunday and was seriously concerned about her health. Fellow prisoners have told him her body will no longer even accept fluids, Khandan said.

"Most likely in the next few days they will have to take her to the hospital," Khandan said.

On hunger strike for nearly 50 days, Sotoudeh has had severe weight loss and has had to be taken to the prison infirmary several times, according to ICHRI.

Sotoudeh and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi were awarded the European Union's Sakharov prize for human rights and freedom of thought last month.

She has defended journalists and rights activists, including Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and Dutch national Zahra Bahrami, who was hanged in January 2011 on drug trafficking charges.

On Friday the United States demanded that Iran free Sotoudeh, and sharply criticized Iranian authorities for their treatment of her.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati, Editing by William Maclean)

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE