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US Urges Iran to Release Activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

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Concerned with Nasrin Sotoudeh's well-being, the United States of America today urged Iran to release the Iranian human rights defender and 2012 Sakharov Prize winner who has been on ahunger strike for almost two months.

Reports say the Imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has lost weight while her hunger strike continues.

In her remarks in Washington DC today, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the United States is deeply troubled by reports of the rapidly declining health of jailed Iranian human rights defender.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
She says Iranian officials have denied Sotoudeh, a leading women's rights champion, medical care during her more than six-week hunger strike.

Reports say Ms. Sotoudeh was kept in solitary confinement by the Iranian authorities.

"We remain concerned for Sotoudeh's well-being given Iran's history of withholding treatment from prisoners and allowing them to die from hunger strikes." - Ms. Nuland

The US demands the Iranian Government cease its intolerable mistreatment of Sotoudeh.

"We demand for her release and the more than 30 other female political prisoners detained in Evin Prison." - Ms. Nuland

The United States remains gravely concerned about Iran's continued harassment, detention, and imprisonment of human rights defenders.

The trial of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is reportedly underway. However, the US believes it is proceeding without transparency and due process guaranteed under Iranian law.

Ms. Sotoudeh was convicted last year of spreading propaganda against the government. She faces six years behind bars at a Tehran prison.

Earlier this month, with its ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens, the United States announced sanctions on four Iranian individuals and five Iranian entities for having engaged in censorship that represses freedom of expression.

Iran's censorship activities include activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including by jamming international satellite broadcasts into Iran, and related activities.

The actions were taken pursuant to Section 403 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, signed by the President on August 10, 2012, and Executive Order 13628, which the President signed into effect on October 9, 2012, Ms. Nuland said.

The sanctions entail U.S. persons being prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated individuals or entities, and all designated individuals and members of designated entities are subject to a ban on travel to the United States.

In addition, the US government also sanctioned Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and its Press Supervisory Board, which have limited freedom of expression through their censorship and closure of numerous newspapers and detention of journalists.

The US is also designating key individuals and entities responsible for assisting the regime in its crackdown on and censorship of the Iranian people.

The new sanctions follow measures taken earlier this year against any institution that deals with Iran's Central Bank. They also are the latest round in increasingly punitive measures targeting companies worldwide that do business with Iran's oil and energy businesses.

The Obama Administration's move follows the failed P5+1 talks with Iran in Moscow, which came after similarly fruitless negotiations in Baghdad and Istanbul.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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