Iran frees prominent human rights lawyer from jail

Iranian authorities on Tuesday released from jail prominent human rights lawyer Mostafa Nili, his attorney said, more than five months after he was arrested during nationwide protests.

The demonstrations were triggered last year following the mid-September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd arrested for allegedly flouting Iran’s strict dress code for women.

“My client, who was sentenced to four years in jail, was released this afternoon from the Rajaishahr prison” near Tehran, Nili’s lawyer Zahra Minouei said in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thousands of people were arrested, hundreds killed — including members of the security forces — and four people executed because of the civil unrest following Amini’s death, with Iran labelling the protests as foreign-instigated “riots.”

But in an apparent attempt to appease critics of the government, authorities have released several dozen well-known prisoners since early February.

Nili was set free as part of that amnesty, his lawyer said.

A prominent lawyer, Nili has defended several cases involving human rights, including protesters who had demonstrated against the handling by authorities of the health crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to his sister, he was arrested last November 8 at Tehran airport.

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