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Iran-Update: Human rights defender Mr Abdolfattah Soltani sentenced by appeal court to 13 years in prison
On 11 June the family of prominent Iranian human rights defender Mr Abdolfattah Soltani was told that the appeal court had upheld his conviction and sentenced him to 13 years in prison.
Abdolfattah Soltani had originally been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a lower court. Abdolfattah Soltani, a leading human rights lawyer and founding member of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), suffers from digestive tract and intestinal disease, a condition compounded by stress resulting from poor prison conditions.
In addition to the harsh sentence handed down after a grossly unfair trial, Abdolfattah Soltani is to be exiled to the remote region of southern Bushehr where he is to serve his sentence at Borazzjan prison, some 800 km away from his family. This measure is apparently meant to punish him and his family who will have to travel long distances to visit him in prison. The harsh sentence may also be related to reports that Abdolfattah Soltani had rejected a demand by the authorities for him to apologize in public and disavow Ms Shirin Ebadi, the Noble Laureate and a founder of CHRD, as a condition for reducing his sentence.
The sentencing of Abdolfattah comes in the context of a long standing campaign of judicial harassment of the human rights defender. As a result of his human rights work and his defence of political prisoners, Abdolfattah 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 besides losing his his civic rights for “non-respect of the preliminary investigation confidentiality in a political case in which he was the defendants lawyer”.
Front Line Defenders condemns the sentencing of Abdolfattah Soltani which it believes is motivated by his peaceful and legitimate human rights work as well as his provision of legal services to victims of human rights violations in Iran. Front Line Defenders considers his trial to be grossly unfair and reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release and for his sentencing to be overturned.
For more information, please see Front Line Defenders' appeal on this case dated 5 March 2012: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/17609
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Iran. HERE