Jailed Iranian Rights Lawyer Sotoudeh 'Temporarily' Released Amid Health Concerns

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian human rights lawyer jailed on spying and propaganda charges, has been temporarily released from prison.

The move comes after warnings last month by human rights groups that her health had severely deteriorated after she staged a six-week hunger strike to demand the release of political prisoners and rights activists.

"Nasrin Sotoudeh...went on furlough with the agreement of the assistant superintendent of the women's prison," the judiciary's Mizan news agency reported on November 7, without disclosing further details.

Iran has granted temporary release to thousands of prisoners following concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in jails in the Middle East's worst-hit country.

Sotoudeh, 57, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory head scarf, was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying, spreading propaganda, and insulting Iran's supreme leader.

Sotoudeh, who denied the charges, was sentenced to a total of 38 1/2 years in prison and 148 lashes.

In September, she was transferred from a prison cell to a hospital north of Tehran following a hunger strike for better prison conditions and the release of political prisoners.

Days later, Sotoudeh was taken back to Tehran's Evin prison and ended her hunger strike after nearly 50 days due to deteriorating health, according to her husband.

The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for human rights in 2012.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters