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Ebadi protests outside UN over jailed Iranian lawyer

Published on 20/12/2010

Exiled Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi demonstrated outside the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Monday, calling for the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

“We are here today to ensure that Nasrin’s voice is heard all over the world, and heard by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay,” Ebadi told AFP.

“We are calling for her to be freed on bail,” added Ebadi.

Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer, was arrested in Iran on September 4 and was reportedly held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison until she appeared in court on November 15.

She had been on hunger strike for several weeks after her arrest, and is currently in hospital after her health deteriorated, said Ebadi.

The 2003 Nobel peace prize winner was accompanied by other demonstrators holding posters calling for Sotoudeh’s release.

Ebadi urged Pillay to act against the “very serious situation of political prisoners in Iran.”

“Some are sick but the government is not allowing them to be treated by doctors,” said Ebadi.

“The High Commissioner of Human Rights should seize on this situation,” she said.

Ebadi currently lives in exile in Britain, and has not returned to Iran since she left the country on the eve of the June 12, 2009 elections which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power for a second term.