Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi led a demonstration outside the UN headquarters in Geneva on Monday on behalf of an imprisoned colleague.
Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, called for the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been hospitalised after going on hunger strike.
Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4 and was held in isolation in Tehran’s Evin prison. She started her hunger strike on December 4, and was taken to hospital five days ago.
"The reason for her imprisonment is her defence of human rights,” Ebadi told journalists, explaining that she had defended political leaders and activists arrested after the presidential elections of June 2009, which sparked huge demonstrations against alleged irregularities.
“We are worried for her life. We are here so that the world may know that a person is dying because she defends human rights in Iran,” Ebadi said.
Officially the charges against her are for propaganda against the state and for damaging national security.
Supporters of Sotoudeh want the United Nations and the High Commission for Human Rights to intervene with the Iranian authorities on her behalf.
swissinfo.ch and agencies