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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

IRAN

 

16 June 2009

 

Human rights lawyer 

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Abdolfattah Soltani

arrested during a mass arrest

after he called on the Iranian government to recount all the votes.

 

UPDATE : On August 26, 2009, following the decision of the Security Branch of the Revolutionary Courts, Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani was released on payment of USD 100,000, following 70 days of arbitrary detention, including 17 days in solitary confinement without access to a shower.

However, Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani remains accused of having acted against national security and no information could be obtained as to when he will be prosecuted.

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Source :   Frontline

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On 16 June 2009, Abdolfattah Soltani , leading human rights lawyer and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran (DHRC), who has already been repressed on several occasions in the past,   was arrested in front of his home in Tehran, at around four in the afternoon, on 16 June by four plainclothes security officials who handcuffed him and brought him with them. The officials, who did not have a search warrant, a summons or arrest warrant, carried out a search of his office. They confiscated his files, his briefcase, his computers and his mobile phone before taking him away.

 According to Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate and the head of the DHRC, security officials posing as clients entered the Tehran office, immediately confiscated Abdolfattah Soltani's computer and other documents, and then arrested him.

First detained in section 240 of Evin prison, in Tehran, he was subsequently transferred to section 209, where political prisoners are detained. As of issuing this urgent appeal, no information could be obtained as to whether charges were brought against him.

Prior to his arrest, Abdolfattah Soltani publicly called on the Iranian government to recount all the votes in last Friday's disputed presidential election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner.

 

BIOGRAPHY ABDOLFATTAH SOLTANI (World Observatory for Defence Rights and attacks against lawyers.)

Abdolfattah Soltani, lawyer at the Bar of Tehran, is a well-known Iranian human rights lawyer.

 

He the lawyer for the family of slain Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was murdered in Evin Prison in July 2003. Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, and Soltani were representing the family of Zahra Kazemi, , an Iranian-Canadian photographer who died in July 2003 from torture and ill-treatment during her detention in Iranian custody. They have both also been representing jailed journalist Akbar Ganji who is currently on day 52 of a hunger strike in protest to his detention.

 

On July 27, 2005, Mr. Saïd Mortazavi, Tehran Prosecutor, requested the Revolution’s Court of Tehran to issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Soltani along with a search warrant for his home. As he was absent, the warrants were delivered to his wife and his house was searched. All his documents, files, video-tapes, books, pictures etc. were seized and transferred to the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s Office.

 

He was arrested on July 30, 2005 while he was taking part in a sit-in at the Bar of Tehran in order to protest against his warrant of arrest, which Mr. Soltani considered as “illegal with respect to the Iranian Penal Code”, as well as against the search and seizure of his personal and professional belongings on order of Mr. Saïd Mortazavi.

 

Abdolfattah Soltani has been accused of “espionage”, without any other precisions. On July 31, 2005, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice announced that Abdolfattah Soltani  had been arrested for having illegally divulged information from one of his clients who was charged with revealing Iran’s nuclear secrets. Morehower, the arrest of Mr. Soltani is thought to be linked with his declaration issued on July 25, 2005, during a hearing in the Court of Appeal of Tehran about the case of Ms. Kazemi. Mr. Soltani, lawyer of Ms. Zahra Kazamis family, questioned the independence and fairness of the trial, pointing out that the main officials allegedly involved in the case had not been indicted by the court, including Tehran Prosecutor.

 

Abdolfattah Soltani was held in solitary confinement until 15 September 2005, when he was moved into a cell with another prisoner. He was  detained at the prison of Evin, in Tehran. His wife and mother were permitted to meet him for the first time only 10 days before this, on 5 September 2005, and then only in the presence of a prison guard. He looked physically weakened, and said that he had not been informed about the authorities' intentions in his case. His wife and mother have been permitted visits since, usually in the presence of prison guards but his children have not seen him since his arrest. He is reportedly barred from making phone calls and reading newspapers.


At the beginning of January 2006, after over five months in detention, Abdolfattah Soltani was permitted access to his lawyer for the first time. He has been interrogated on numerous occasions without the presence of a lawyer. No further visits by his lawyer were known to have occurred by early February 2006.


The investigating judge originally appointed to deal with his case was replaced with another judge in December 2005, apparently because he was considering releasing Abdolfattah Soltani on bail. On 3 December 2005, the new investigating judge extended his temporary detention order for a further three months.

 

During his detention was elected as a board member by the Bar Association of Tehran, but he received a letter from the Judiciary rejecting his election as a board member, explaining that as he was in prison during the election, his candidacy was not valid.


Abdolfattah Soltani, who was detained at the Evin prison since July 30, 2005 was released on bail on March 6, 2006 after a bail of 100,000 euros was paid thanks to a solidarity movement.

 

On July 16, 2006, he was informed that the Revolutionary Court of Tehran had sentenced him to a five-year prison term and to the loss of his civic rights, for failing to respect the confidentiality of the preliminary inquiry into the case of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photographer who died in 2003 from acts of torture and ill-treatments to which she was subjected during her detention. Mr. Soltani had questioned the independence and fairness of the trial, stressing that the main officials allegedly involved in the case had not been prosecuted by the court, including Mr. Saïd Mortazavi. Mr. Soltani appealed against this judgment.

 

On May 28th, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer  said  he has been acquitted on appeal of espionage-related charges.


"The court of appeal of Tehran has rejected all the accusations, saying that there was no proof against me," Soltani said.

 

He had spent seven months in jail.

 

Copyright IDHAE

 

TAKE ACTION NOW !

 

LETTER

 

[Your name here]

 

Your Excellency,

 

I am deeply concerned following reports that human rights lawyer Mr Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested on 16 June 2009 during a mass arrest that also included many other human rights defenders.

Abdolfattah Soltani is a leading human rights lawyer and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran (DHRC).

He was involved in the case of the dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, and represented the family of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian born Canadian photojournalist who died in an Iranian prison under torture.

In relation to this case, Mr Soltani was detained without formal charge in Tehran’s Evin prison from 30 July 2005 until March 2006. On 16 July 2006 he was sentenced to five years in prison and a loss of his civic rights for “non-respect of the preliminary investigation confidentiality in a political case in which he was the defendants lawyer”.

On 16 June 2009, Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested in his office in Tehran. According to Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate and the head of the DHRC, security officials posing as clients entered the Tehran office, immediately confiscated Abdolfattah Soltani's computer and other documents, and then arrested him. They did not have an arrest warrant.

Prior to his arrest, Abdolfattah Soltani publicly called on the Iranian government to recount all the votes in last Friday's disputed presidential election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner.

I wish to express my deep concern following reports of the violent dispersal of peaceful protests that erupted nationwide following the presidential elections. State security forces have reportedly used excessive force against peaceful protesters, including the use of plastic bullets and live ammunition, in urban centers and university campuses across the country.

Several protesters have reportedly been killed in Shiraz and in Tehran.

According to information received, many other human rights defenders have also been targeted following the presidential elections including Mr Alireza Tajik and Mr Kayvan Samimi, members of the Arbitrary Detentions Investigation Committee, who were arrested on 15 June 2009.

I believe that the arrests of Abdolfattah Soltani, Alireza Tajik and Kayvan Samimi are directly related to their legitimate work in defence of human rights.

I urge the Iranian authorities to:

1.Immediately and unconditionally release Abdolfattah Soltani, Alireza Tajik, Kayvan Samimi and all other human rights defenders who have been arrested due to their participation in peaceful demonstrations related to the Iranian presidential election, as I believe that they are being held solely as a result of their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2.Immediately stop the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters and take urgent measures to ensure full respect by security forces and police of the United Nations Basic Principles for the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, in compliance with Iran's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

3.Refrain from arresting or detaining human rights defenders solely for conducting their legitimate work in defence of human rights or for expressing their opinions on related issues;

4.Ensure that the treatment of Abdolfattah Soltani, Alireza Tajik and Kayvan Samimi, while in detention, adheres to all those conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

5.Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

 

Yours sincerely,

[Signature]

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: 

 

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani and all human rights defenders in Iran;
  2. Release Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;
  3. Put an end to acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Iran;
  4. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, its article 5(c), which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, [...] to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
  5. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Addresses:

  • Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email: info@leader.ir / istiftaa@wilayah.org / webmaster@wilayah.org
  • President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880. Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
  • Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Manouchehr Mottaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 390 1999, Email: matbuat@mfa.gov
  • Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int

 

 

PLEASE ACT NOW.

THANK YOU.

 

 

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