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International Law

Jailed Iranian Lawyer Awarded EU’s Sakharov Prize

Posted Oct 26, 2012 11:42 AM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian lawyer imprisoned in 2010 on suspicion of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security, received the European Union’s award for human rights and freedom Friday, Reuters reports.

Named in honor of Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, the Sakharov Prize was also given to Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker whose work centers on people dealing with the country’s religious and cultural codes.

According to Reuters, Sotoudeh defends journalists and rights activists. Her clients have included Zahra Bahrami, a Dutch national who was hanged for drug trafficking charges. She is serving a six-year sentence.

Sotoudeh is held in solitary confinement, Reuters reports. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights she began a hunger strike Oct. 17, protesting limits authorities placed on family visits, as well as a travel ban placed on her daughter.

Sotoudeh was prevented from seeing her children after she refused to wear a full-length traditional garment, Reuters reports.

"I know that you require water, food, housing, a family, parents, love and visits with your mother," Sotoudeh wrote to her children from jail. "However, just as much, you need freedom, social security, the rule of law and justice."

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