Imprisoned lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh was released from Evin Prison on furlough on Sunday, June 23. Journalist Jila Baniyaghoub was also released from Evin Prison on the same day after completing her one-year prison sentence.
Human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh has been in prison since September 2010. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison, 20 years’ ban on practicing law, and 20 years’ travel ban on charges of “acting against national security, collusion, propaganda against the regime, and membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” Her sentence was reduced to six years in prison at the appeals level. She was also sentenced to cash fines of about $50 for failure to observe the Islamic hejab, or head-covering.
Sotoudeh, the mother of a 12-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, was released on a four-day furlough beginning June 23.
Jila Baniyaghoub, a journalist and women’s rights activist, began serving her prison term in September 2012. She was originally arrested on June 20, 2009, along with her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amoueee, at their home. Sixty days later, she was released on bail. In June 2010, she was sentenced to one year in prison and a 30-year ban on journalistic activities on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” based on her writings in her personal blog, “We are Journalists,” where she wrote her opinions and analysis of the 2009 pre- and post-election events. Prior to her arrest, Baniyaghoub served as an editor for several reformist newspapers, such as Vaghaye Ettefaghieh and Sarmayeh. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the now-banned Center for Iranian Women website. In 2009, she won the Courage in Journalism Prize of the International Women’s Media Foundation, as well as the International Prize for Freedom of Expression. Baniyaghoub was also the 2010 recipient of Reporters Without Borders’ Freedom of Speech Award.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, Baniyaghoub’s journalist husband, is currently serving his five-year-and-four-month sentence at Rajaee Shahr Prison.