Nasrin Sotoudeh: Jailed Iran lawyer 'ends hunger strike'

Nasrin Sotoudeh pictured in 2008 Nasrin Sotoudeh was awarded this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

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Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is reported to have ended her 49-day hunger strike.

Ms Sotoudeh's decision came after the authorities lifted a travel ban on her 12-year-old daughter, a lawyer told the opposition Kaleme website on Tuesday.

Hours earlier, the UN had urged Iran to end the sanctions on Ms Sotoudeh's family and expressed extreme concern about her deteriorating health.

Her family said she had lost weight and her blood pressure was very low.

The Iranian authorities had insisted Ms Sotoudeh was in a good health.

'Arbitrary' imprisonment

Ms Sotoudeh, the winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was arrested in September 2010.

In January 2011, she was convicted of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and sentenced to 11 years in prison. The term was reduced to six years on appeal in September 2011.

Ms Sotoudeh denied the charges, which the UN said were believed to be linked to her work as a human rights defender.

Her husband Reza Khandan and daughter Mehraveh have been subjected to restrictions including the travel ban since her arrest.

On 17 October, Ms Sotoudeh went on hunger strike as a protest against her prison conditions as well as the sanctions imposed on her family.

She spent almost three weeks in solitary confinement and was deprived of family visits for several weeks after she began the protest, the UN said.

Last week, her husband said her health had reached a critical stage.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said she was "extremely concerned" about Ms Sotoudeh, and said the restrictions on her family could not be justified under international law.

"The UN human rights mechanisms view the imprisonment of Ms Sotoudeh as arbitrary, and in violation of various provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state party," said a statement issued on Tuesday.

Ms Pillay urged the Iranian government to promptly release Ms Sotoudeh, along with all other activists "who have been arrested and detained for peacefully promoting the observance of human rights in the country".

Iranian officials have denied that there are any political prisoners, saying that all those behind bars have been tried according to the country's laws.

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