Iran lawyer tests positive for Covid-19 after release from jail

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Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (pictured 2013) was jailed in 2018 after defending a woman arrested for protesting against the requirement for Iranian women to wear the hijab
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (pictured 2013) was jailed in 2018 after defending a woman arrested for protesting against the requirement for Iranian women to wear the hijab

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for Covid-19 only days after being released from prison, her husband said on Tuesday.

"Nasrin tested positive today," Reza Khandan wrote in a brief post on his Facebook account.

"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.

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

Sotoudeh, 57 and a winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov prize, was released from jail on Saturday after being granted a temporary leave of absence.

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, where she had to end in September a 45-day hunger strike that she had launched to seek the release of prisoners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

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