TEHRAN — An imprisoned human rights lawyer serving a sentence for “acting against national security” ended a 49-day hunger strike on Tuesday after judicial authorities acceded to her demand to lift a travel ban imposed on her 12-year-old daughter, her husband said.
The lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, 49, who until her imprisonment in 2010 was one of the last lawyers taking on high-profile human rights and political cases in Iran, decided in October to go on the hunger strike out of fear of increasing limitations imposed on her family. She fell into fragile health during the hunger strike, in which she would drink only water mixed with salts and sugar. Her weight dropped to 95 pounds.
It was the second time that Ms. Sotoudeh felt compelled to quit eating. She declared her first hunger strike in 2010, after her family was forbidden to visit or make phone calls. In that case, the authorities capitulated after four weeks, allowing her husband and two children to visit weekly.
Ms. Sotoudeh has also written several public letters from prison, one of which thanked the head of the judiciary for putting her in jail, saying she was horrified by the thought of being free while her former clients were still in prison.
In recent years, several lawyers representing people suspected of security crimes have been arrested while others, like Shirin Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, have left the country. Tuesday’s ruling, which had not been officially confirmed by the authorities here, seemed to show that Iranian officials are receptive to pressure in human rights cases — something that Ms. Sotoudeh has argued consistently.
Iranian officials deny there are any political prisoners in Iran, saying that all those behind bars have been tried according to the country’s laws. Ms. Sotoudeh is serving a six-year prison term since her conviction last year on the national security charge and over “misusing her profession as a lawyer.”