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Appeal by The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders on behalf of jailed Iranian lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.
New information:
The Observatory has been informed by the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) that Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer at the Bar of Tehran and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DRHC), who is currently detained at the Evin prison, in Tehran, was allowed to meet one of his lawyers at the beginning of January 2006. During that meeting, Mr. Soltani expressed his concerns about the fact that he has still neither been formally charged, nor duly informed of the charges against him.

Abdolfattah Soltani

The Observatory recalls that this situation violates Article 32 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which provides that a person arrested has the right to be informed of the charges against him/her within 24 hours of his/her arrest. It is also a violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.
Background information:
Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested on July, 30, 2005 while taking part in a sit-in at the Bar of Tehran in order to protest against the warrant for arrest  issued against him by Mr. Said Mortazavi, the Prosecutor of Tehran, on July 27, 2005. Mr. Soltani was accused of "espionage", without any other precisions.
On July 31, 2005, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice announced that Mr. Soltani had been arrested for having illegally divulged information from one of his clients who was charged with revealing Iran's nuclear secrets. Up to now, Mr. Soltani was detained incommunicado at the Evin Prison, and was not allowed to meet his lawyer or his family.
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, an Iranian-Canadian photographer who died in July 2003 from torture and ill-treatment during her detention. 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 Mr. Sad Mortazavi, Tehran Prosecutor.
On December 3, 2005, the investigating judge in the case against Mr. Soltani decided that the latter should remain in pre-trial detention for a period of three additional months.
Actions requested:
Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:
i. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani and all human rights defenders in Iran;
ii. release him immediately and ensure that ensure that he be granted a fair and impartial trial so that all charges against him be dropped;
iii. put an immediate end to any kind of threats and harassment against all human rights defenders in Iran;
iv. conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations' General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", its article 5(b), stating that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels to form, join and participate in non-governmental organisations, associations or groups", its article 9.3(c), which provides that everyone has the right "to offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms", 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 or 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";
v. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

- Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228 (ask fax to be forwarded to Ayatollah Khamenei), Email: (on the subject line write: For the attention of the office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom)
- President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880
- 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, Email:
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Manouchehr Mottaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 390 1999 (number may be unreliable; please mark "care of the Human Rights Department, Foreign Ministry"), Email:
- Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
Paris - Geneva, January 13, 2005
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH: 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

... Payvand News - 1/17/06 ... --

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