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Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh tests positive for Covid-19 after jail release Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh tests positive for Covid-19 after jail release

Nasrin Sotoudeh had been on hunger strike for seven weeks [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 November, 2020

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Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband said the human rights lawyer had contracted the virus after being transferred to Tehran's Qarchak prison.

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for the coronavirus just days after being temporarily released from prison, her husband said on Tuesday.

Reza Khandan posted the update on his Facebook page, saying his wife had contracted the virus at Tehran's Qarchak prison.

Khandan described conditions at the jail, where Sotoudeh was transferred to last month, as "catastrophic".

"Last Wednesday, during (a) meeting I had with Nasrin at Qarchak prison, she said that the coronavirus had spread in her ward and many (inmates) had become sick," he wrote.

"That's why she was in a rush to follow up on her furlough process."

Sotoudeh, 57, was granted temporary release on Saturday amid mounting concerns about her health after a seven-week hunger strike.

The lawyer and activist was jailed in 2018 after defending a woman arrested for protesting against the requirement for Iranian women to wear the hijab.

She was told at the time that she had been sentenced to five years in prison in absentia for spying, according to her lawyers.

In 2019, she was sentenced again to 12 years in prison "for encouraging corruption and debauchery".

According to her husband, Sotoudeh's health deteriorated badly behind bars, and went on a 45-day hunger strike to seek the release of other prisoners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Iran is the Middle East's hardest hit country by the pandemic.

Since March, more than 100,000 inmates have been granted temporary release to limit the spread of the disease in prisons.

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