Imprisoned Iranian lawyer ends hunger strike-website

Reuters Middle East

DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Imprisoned Iranian lawyer Nasrin

Sotoudeh ended her nearly 50-day long hunger strike on Tuesday,

an opposition website said, after authorities lifted a ban on

her young daughter travelling abroad.

Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist, is serving a

six-year jail sentence after being arrested in September 2010

and convicted of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm

state security.

She began a hunger strike on Oct. 17, according to the New

York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

(ICHRI), in protest against a ban on her 13-year-old daughter

leaving the country and limits on visits by her family.

"After 49 days, Nasrin Sotoudeh ended her hunger strike ...

after judiciary restrictions on her daughter Mehraveh Khandan

were lifted," the opposition Kaleme website reported.

Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan told Reuters last week he

was seriously concerned about his wife's health. According to

ICHRI, Sotoudeh has suffered severe weight loss and has been

taken to the prison infirmary several times.

The United Nations' top human rights official Navi Pillay

urged Iran earlier on Tuesday to free Sotoudeh and to lift a

travel ban on her family.

A parliamentary committee planned to visit Tehran's

notorious Evin prison where Sotoudeh is being held due to

concerns over her deteriorating condition, Iranian media

reported on Sunday.

Sotoudeh and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi were awarded the

European Union's Sakharov prize for human rights and freedom of

thought last month. Panahi has been held under house arrest

since December 2010.

Sotoudeh 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.

The United States demanded on Friday that Iran free

Sotoudeh, and sharply criticised Iranian authorities for their

treatment of her.

(Editing by Jon Hemming)

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