Massoumeh Dehghan, retired teacher and wife of imprisoned human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her one-year prison sentence for accepting her husband’s human rights award has been upheld. Branch 54 of Tehran Appeals Court has upheld her lower court ruling in full, sentencing her to one year in prison, suspended for five years, and five years’ ban on foreign travel.
Massoumeh Dehghan with daughter Maedeh-Soltani
Massoumeh Dehghan told the Campaign she is shocked the appeals court upheld her sentence. “At this stage I can request a retrial. But I don’t really know what I should do, and whether my request can have an impact on my sentence or not. Unfortunately my sentence has been upheld in full.”
Massoumeh Dehghan, who has never had any political activities, was arrested and detained for six days in July 2011 on charges of traveling to Germany and receiving the Nuremberg Human Rights Award on behalf of her husband. She was charged with “participation in earning illegitimate income through accepting a human rights award.” The prize had been awarded to Abdolfattah Soltani, and because he was banned from traveling abroad, his wife went to Germany and accepted the award on his behalf. Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati eventually sentenced him to one year in prison, which was suspended, and five years’ ban on foreign travel, and the appeals court upheld the sentence in full.
“Before the ruling from the lower court, I was only summoned once and the officer threatened me verbally not to have any activities or to attend gatherings of political prisoners’ families, but after the lower court’s ruling was issued, I was never summoned,” Massoumeh Dehghan said.
“Hearing news of the release of imprisoned friends and Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh made us more helpful about the new cabinet. I now hope that my husband and the other political prisoners are released. A president who wants to cooperate with the rest of the world must first establish cooperation with its own government, and it appears that this is the intention,” said Abdolfattah Soltani’s wife.
“Mr. Soltani and his lawyers requested the implementation of Article 18 and a review of the court ruling which was accepted, but months after that it has not been implemented yet. We hope that Mr. Soltani’s sentence is reviewed again,” she added.
Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested on September 10, 2011. On January 8, 2012, Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Pirabbasi sentenced him to 18 years in prison, exile to Borazjan, and 20 years’ ban on his legal practice on charges of “being awarded the  Nuremberg International Human Rights Award,” “interviewing with media about his clients’ cases,” and “co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center.”
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