2012 Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh has been banned from practising as a lawyer for three years by an Iranian court on Monday. A sit-in in front of the Iranian Bar Association started today to protest against this ruling.

MEP Cornelia Ernst, vice-chair of the EP's Delegation for relations with Iran, called for solidarity with Sotoudeh: “This decision to ban her from practising her profession represents renewed harassment of the Sakharov Prize winner. If Iran wants to be taken seriously, the Iranian institutions must show that they can accept dissenters and also deal fairly with them. Monday's judgement shows just the opposite.”

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer commented: “Human rights are universal and must be defended against arbitrary restrictions. As a lawyer in Iran, Nasrin Sotoudeh tried to defend human rights and because of that that she is now being side-lined.  On-going attacks on the legal profession in Iran must come to an end. I call on Iranian legislators and prosecutors to end their campaign against human rights defenders. “

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