Iran: 'lifting of illegal travel ban no way a breakthrough'

Amnesty International today criticised Iran’s judicial system for undermining its own rule of law.

Speaking after prisoner of conscience Nasrin Sotoudeh reportedly ended her hunger strike after the Iranian authorities lifted a travel ban on her 13-year-old daughter, Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa programme Ann Harrison said:

“While it is good news that Nasrin Sotoudeh has ended her 49-day hunger strike, the reported lifting by the judiciary of an illegal travel ban on a 13-year-old girl is in no way a breakthrough. Why should a mother have to endanger her own life in order to get the judiciary to abide by its own obligations?

“It is yet one more example to show how the rule of law in Iran is being undermined by the very body meant to uphold it.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh is in prison simply for her peaceful work as a lawyer. What will it take for the Iranian authorities to accept that she should not be behind bars and to order her immediate and unconditional release?”

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, is serving a six-year jail sentence, reduced from 11 years on appeal, on charges of “spreading propaganda” and belonging to an “illegal” organisation – the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.  She denies all charges.

Nasrin Sotoudeh has been held in Evin Prison in Tehran since her arrest on 4 September 2010, including a lengthy period in solitary confinement.

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