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Oct 19, 9:46 AM EDT

Iran bans human rights lawyer from practicing law


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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- An Iranian court has banned a prominent human rights lawyer from practicing her profession for three years, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported Sunday.

Nasrin Sotoudeh told ISNA that the Bar Association had been under pressure to cancel her license since she was released from jail last year. She said she had requested that the association delay any decision until the pressure diminished, without elaborating.

She said she would not challenge the decision. "The Bar Association is my home and I will never appeal against my home," she said.

Sotoudeh, a mother of two, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2011 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security. She was granted an early release in September 2013, three months after the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

The rights lawyer, who has defended opposition activists and juveniles facing the death penalty, was awarded the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2012 along with another Iranian activist.

Rouhani has vowed to ease restrictions on freedom of expression, but he has faced stiff resistance from hard-liners in the government.

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