Iran jails ‘alternative Nobel’ winner before award ceremony

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jail bars

dpa/GNA,An Iranian human rights lawyer and winner of an award often called “the alternative Nobel prize” has been jailed again in Iran on the eve of Thursday’s award ceremony, organizers said.

The Right Livelihood Foundation, which awards the prize, said it was “shocked at the news” that Nasrin Sotoudeh has been ordered back to prison, where she is serving a more than 30-year sentence.

Sotoudeh, Iran’s first winner of the Right Livelihood Award, was temporarily released on November 7 and contracted Covid-19 while in prison, the foundation said.

“With this latest move, Iranian authorities have demonstrated that they will go to any lengths to deny Sotoudeh her legitimate right to work towards a more just society,” said Ole von Uexkull, foundation director.

Sotoudeh is among the winners of the 2020 Right Livelihood Award to be honoured on Thursday at an online ceremony in Stockholm.

The other winners are Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski and the human rights organization Viasna that he founded in 1996, US lawyer and civil rights advocate Bryan Stevenson, and Lottie Cunninghwam Wren, a lawyer and environmental activist and member of Nicaragua’s indigenous Miskito people.

Bialiatski and Viasna are the first Belarusian recipients of the award that was created to honour achievements pertaining to human rights, environmental protection and peace.

First announced in 1980, the awards are not connected to the prizes endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

Each of the four recipients is to receive a cash prize worth 1 million kronor (111,000 dollars).

Last year, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 17, was one of the winners.

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