The internationally recognized lawyer returns to a women’s prison where health concerns remain, according to her husband.
Tehran, Iran – Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is being returned to prison for health reasons less than a month after her temporary release, according to her husband.
Reza Khandan said a medical examiner recommended a two-week extension of his wife’s vacation, but authorities said she must return immediately.
“They called from the courts and said she had to report to jail today and we are packing up to go now,” he told Al Jazeera.
Sotoudeh – a recipient of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize – was arrested two years ago for collusion, disseminating propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader.
She was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes in 2019. She is required by law to serve at least 12 years of her sentence before qualifying for parole.
57-year-old Sotoudeh should undergo another round of scans and tests on Sunday to monitor her heart, Khandan said.
Her temporary release came weeks after she was transferred to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Tehran after a long hunger strike.
Their 46-day hunger strike, which aimed to draw attention to the condition of political prisoners and demand their release amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ended in late September.
Khandan said Sotoudeh caught the novel coronavirus in her final days at Qarchak Women’s Prison, just before she went on vacation.
“Luckily you [COVID-related] The illness wasn’t severe enough to have to be hospitalized, but we dealt with it all the time at home and now she has to go back just as she is feeling a little better, ”he said.
Khandan said health concerns remain at the prison outside of Tehran.
“Qarchak does not offer ordinary conditions for prisoners. Even if [Sotoudeh] If we weren’t there we would warn of health concerns, but no one would listen, ”he said.
On October 20, Sotoudeh was transferred from Evin Prison in the capital to Qarchak, a prison that has been the subject of human rights concerns by international groups.
Sotoudeh’s temporary release came weeks after two senior judicial officers visited Qarchak and reportedly spent hours talking to prisoners about their conditions.
At that time, they reportedly issued “immediate orders” to answer a series of inquiries from inmates without revealing any details.
The internationally recognized lawyer, whose release was advocated by the United Nations and human rights groups outside Iran, has previously been detained.
Sotoudeh represented people who were arrested in mass protests against the controversial re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 and spent three years behind bars.
She has also represented women who have protested against Iran’s mandatory hijab rule.