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UN rights chief urges Iran to ease up on dissident

GENEVA (AP) – The U.N.’s top human rights official is urging Iran to improve conditions for a jailed human rights activist who has been on hunger strike since mid-October.

A spokesman for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health is deteriorating rapidly. She is protesting against prison conditions and a ban on visits by her family.

Rupert Colville told reporters Tuesday that Pillay is urging Iran to urgently help Sotoudeh by “lifting the travel ban and other sanctions on her family, which cannot be justified under international law.”

The European Parliament awarded the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Sotoudeh _ sentenced to six years in prison on security charges after representing imprisoned Iranian opposition activists _ and dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

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