Iran: Release Abdolfattah Soltani Now
Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer and a founding member of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is serving a 13-year imprisonment in Evin prison. The Iranian government forcibly shut down the CHRD in December 2008.
He was arrested on 10 September 2011 on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “setting up an illegal opposition group [the CHRD]”, and “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security.” This is not the first time Abdolfattah Soltani has faced charges for his work as a human rights defender.
Abdolfattah Soltani and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, served as a lawyer for the family of slain Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in Evin prison from beatings sustained after her arrest in July 2003. He also served as a lawyer for leaders of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i community, trade unionists, and other political prisoners.
Abdolfattah Soltani’s wife Massoumeh Dehgan has also been targeted: In November 2013, Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court sentenced her to one year of imprisonment, suspended for five years, and banned her from traveling abroad for five years, on charges of “propaganda against the system.”
Abdolfattah Soltani suffers from anemia and other health problems. In November 2013 he went on a “wet” hunger strike (taking water but no food) along with three other political prisoners, in Tehran’s Evin Prison to protest the lack of medical care for prisoners.
Please write to Iranian authorities to urge them:
- To release immediately and unconditionally Abdolfattah Soltani as he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association and his legitimate human rights work.
- To ensure that Abdolfattah Soltani receives full and unrestricted access to his family, lawyer of his choice and all necessary medical care.
- To end the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in Iran, including members of the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office
Vali Asr Avenue, Above Pasteur Intersection
Azizi 2 Street, Number 4
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)