#Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki Moon, Amnesty, HRW, EU members

* UPDATE 2013-11-05

Authorities prepare silent death of prisoners of conscience

FIDH Last Update 4 November 2013

On 1 November 2013, prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani (a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre - DHRC) and three other political prisoners started a hunger strike in Evin prison in protest against the authorities’ denial of adequate medical care to dozens of sick prisoners in the prison. Two days later, about 80 prisoners also started a 3-day strike in Rajaishahr prison, near the city of Karaj, west of Tehran.

The four initial striking prisoners warned against the “gradual trend of demise of prisoners, in particular political prisoners,” that “has begun long ago” and denounced:
the lack of specialist doctors within prison;
refusal of the authorities to send political prisoners to outside medical facilities without handcuffs, shackles and prison uniform;
interference of security and intelligence organisations in decisions concerning despatch of prisoners to outside medical centres;
refusal of the authorities to provide for costly treatment and medicines for prisoners suffering from refractory diseases.

Prisoners in Rajaishahr prison are protesting against the installation of electronic jamming antennas in the prison, which have caused severe headaches and nausea among prisoners.

There are around 30 sick prisoners in Ward 350 of Evin prison alone and a number of others in Rajaishar prison as well as in other prisons.

“Authorities seem to be seeking revenge against prisoners of conscience for exercising their rights. In addition to suffering torture during pre-trial detention and harsh sentences after extremely unfair trials, they are denied access to adequate medical treatment” , said Karim Lahidji, FIDH president.

“More than two dozen prisoners of conscience have died as a result of extensive neglect under highly dubious conditions in Iranian prisons in the past few years, including Messrs Hoda Saber, Afshin Ossanlu, Mohsen Dogmechi and Alborz Qassemi” , said Shirin Ebadi, DHRC President and 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, “The Iranian authorities are silently preparing the death of prisoners of conscience” , she added.

FIDH, and its two member organisations, DHRC and LDDHI, urge the international community to express their concern for the plight of political prisoners in Iran in particular by voting for a UN resolution, bound to reflect the gross violations of human rights in the country within the next few weeks.

Source : FIDH

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* UPDATE 03/04/2013

Iran Sky-high Bail Keeps Rights Lawyer
Abdolfattah Soltani in Jail

Radio Zamaneh 03/04/2013

Jailed human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani has been practically prevented from getting a furlough after the judiciary set his bail at 12 billion rials.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran quoted Soltani’s daughter on Monday March 4 saying that Soltani’s bail should be commensurate with the number of years remaining in his sentence. She said the 11 years still outstanding in Soltani’s 13-year sentence would put his bail amount at around 1 billion rials, but the authorities are asking 12 times that amount.

Abdolfattah Soltani has announced that such an amount for bail violates the laws of the Islamic Republic.

Soltani is currently in section 350 of Evin Prison and is serving out a 13-year sentence for receiving the Nuremberg Human Rights Award, speaking with the foreign media about his clients and co-founding the Human Rights Defenders Centre in Iran.

Source : Radio Zamaneh

* UPDATE October 9 , 2012

Iranian lawyer and human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani is today named as the winner of the 2012 International Bar AssociationHuman Rights Award. The announcement comes during the International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference taking place in Dublin, Ireland.

Mr Soltani, who co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) with Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms Shirin Ebadi, has been conferred with the title for his outstanding contribution as a legal practitioner to human rights. Mr Soltani has worked courageously and determinedly throughout his career to provide pro bono legal counsel to those in need.

As a result of his human rights defence work, Mr Soltani has endured persistent persecution from the Iranian government and has been imprisoned on several occasions. He is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence in Iran that stems from a number of charges including co-founding the DHRC, spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security. The imprisonment began on 4 March 2012.

Mr Soltani’s daughter, Maede Soltani, and fellow Iranian lawyer, Mahnaz Parakand, will accept the Award on his behalf at the IBA’s Rule of Law Symposium being held on Friday at the conclusion of the week-long IBA Annual Conference. The presentation will be made in Auditorium, Level 3 of the Conference Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland.

* UPDATE June 12 2012

Daughter: Iran dissident gets 13 years in prison

BERLIN (AP) — A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Tehran revolutionary court, his daughter said Tuesday.
Maede Soltani, who lives in Germany, said her family was officially notified Monday of last week's ruling, which came during the appeals process.

Her father, Abdolfattah Soltani, co-founded a human rights group with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. He was arrested last year.

A court in March initially sentenced the 58-year-old to 18 years in prison on various charges, including co-founding the Center for Human Rights Defenders, spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security.

"My father was told that his sentence would be reduced (further) if he would apologize and speak out against Ms. Ebadi in an open letter or an interview," Maede Soltani said. "He declined."

Amnesty International maintains Soltani is a "non-violent political prisoner who is being jailed only for his legitimate activities" as a human rights lawyer.

"Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the bravest human rights defenders in Iran," the group said after his detention last September, urging his immediate release.

Maede Soltani told The Associated Press that last week's "politically motivated" ruling cannot be appealed a second time.

Soltani was previously arrested for seven months in 2005 and again for several months in the wake of Iran's disputed presidential elections in 2009.

The revolutionary court also upheld the decision to transfer Soltani to a remote prison in the city of Borazjan, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southwest of Tehran, Maede Soltani said, adding that the family will barely be able to visit him there.

Working alongside Ebadi, the lawyer also represented the family of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian origin who was arrested for taking photographs in front of Evin prison and died several days later in the prison, possibly after being tortured.

An investigative panel concluded Kazemi died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage caused by a "physical attack," but the findings were rejected by Iran's conservative judiciary.


* UPDATE - March 5, 2012*

Human rights lawyer sentenced to 18 years in jail
Sun, 03/04/2012 Radio Zamaneh

Abdolfattah Soltani, an Iranian human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, exile and a 20-year ban from practising law.

The RAHANA Human Rights House of Iran reports that Soltani was charged with “propaganda against the regime, establishing the Human Rights Defenders Centre and assembly and collusion against the regime.”

The report indicates that he is also charged with “acquiring pelf” by receiving the Nuremberg Human Rights Award in 1995.

Soltani has been under arrest for more than seven months in Evin Prison. He was also arrested six years ago and was held in solitary confinement for 219 days.

Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s prosecutor at the time, had charged him with spying for revealing information about his clients. He was sentenced to five years in jail and a five-year ban from practising law, but the appeals court cleared him of all charges.

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Iranian authorities have arrested the prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani in Tehran, according to reports out of Iran.

Security officials reportedly searched his home for hours today, Saturday, and later produced an arrest warrant for Soltani, who is also a member of Iran’s Human Rights Defenders Centre.

The charges have not been verified.

Soltani was previously arrested in June 2009 during the mass protests that broke out after the presidential election, over allegations of vote fraud in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory. The lawyer was held for 70 days and released on $100,000 bail.

The Iranian judiciary accused him of “challenging the elections, propaganda against the regime and establishing a group to act against national security.”

Germany’s Human Rights Office in Nuremberg gave Soltani a human rights award in December 2008, which he was unable to receive due to travel restrictions imposed on him by the Islamic Republic. His wife, Masoomeh Dehghani, accepted it on his behalf.

This past June, Dehghani was arrested and released on bail after five days. Soltani, who acted as his wife’s attorney, told ISNA that she was accused of distributing a 15,000-euro prize that came with the award among the families of political prisoners. Soltani added that he had not yet received any such prize.

Dehghani’s file remains open, and no sentence has been issued so far.

Soltani has represented numerous human rights cases, including those of Ali Afshari, Akbar Gangi, Haleh Esfandiari, the family of Zahra Kazemi, the family of Zahra Bani-Yaghoub and several Nationalist-Religious figures. He has also acted for numerous closed-down publications and student activists.

1) We the undersigned demand the immediate and unconditional release of Abdolfattah Soltani.

2)We demand forAbdolfattah Soltani to receive urgently needed medical care for the torture wounds inflicted by prison authorities.

3) We demand the prison authorities, all government forces, agents, police, and basij to stop the inhumane torture of Iranian citizens in prison in Iran!

The Free Abdolfattah Soltani petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki Moon, Amnesty, HRW, EU members was written by Anette Meyer and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.