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12/24/18

Lawyer Says Iranian Activist Reza Khandan Released, Support Hunger Strikes Ended

Source: RFE/RL

Iranian activist Reza Khandan, the husband of imprisoned human-rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, has been released from custody in Iran, his lawyer said in a post on Facebook on December 23.  Lawyer Mohammad Moghimi wrote that following Khandan's release, both Sotoudeh and activist Farhad Meysami ended hunger strikes that were partially motivated by support for Khandan.

Moghimi said Khandan was released on December 23 but did not provide details on the circumstances or conditions.

Khandan was detained on September 4 after he complained on Facebook about human-rights violations in Iran, including the imprisonment of rights defenders and the prosecution of women who have campaigned against the requirement to wear the Islamic hijab.

Khandan faced charges of acting contrary to Iran's national security and promoting "anti-hijab" activities.

On December 2, Khandan refused to attend a hearing before a branch of the Revolutionary Court, arguing that the charges against him are political, so his trial should be held in open session before a jury at the Tehran Criminal Court.

Meysami's hunger strike lasted 145 days. Sotoudeh began her hunger strike on August 25.

Sotoudeh, 55, was arrested on June 13 and ordered to serve a five-year sentence imposed on her in absentia in September 2016 for allegedly carrying out "activities against national security in collaboration with domestic and foreign antirevolutionary elements," according to Human Rights Watch.

International rights groups and the U.S. government have denounced the arrest of the lawyer, who earlier in 2018 represented several women detained for publicly protesting the compulsory hijab.

Sotoudeh -- the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought -- has denied all charges against her.

An outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment, Sotoudeh previously spent several years in prison on security charges, including acting against Iran's national security. She has defended journalists, rights activists, and juveniles.


With reporting by Iranhumanrights.org

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