Statement in Support of Abdolfattah Soltani

Lawyers Object to the Arrest and Continued Detention of Human Rights Defender and Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani

Sunday 5 July 2009

June 22, 2009

Following the arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a human rights lawyer and a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a group of lawyers objected to his illegal arrest. Soltani is a well respected human rights lawyer who has taken up the legal defense of many women’s rights activists, including members of the Campaign. Along with other colleagues at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a human rights NGO headed by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi, he has conducted several workshops on citizens rights for members of the Campaign and other human rights defenders, with them aim of informing them of their rights during detention and imprisonment.

The following is the translation of the statement issued by these lawyers:

Honorable People of Iran!

Following the wave of arrests of civil and political activists and only four days after the conclusion of presidential elections, our colleague Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani -a long time defender of human rights- was illegally arrested yet again.

We, the lawyers of the judiciary, consider the manner of arrest and detention of Abodlfattah Soltani to be a clear and evident breach of the constitution and rules of criminal trial law. We would like to emphasize adherence to legal principles and we ask the government of Iran to respect these principles and end its repeated breach of the rights of citizens. We express our objection to the widespread arrest of civil and political activists and we call on the responsible officials to release all detainees immediately.

Abdolfattah Soltani has been arrested merely because of performing his professional duties and because of his remarkable record in defending hundreds of victims of human rights violations and those who were seeking freedoms. Not only is this arrest a violation of the rights of Soltani’s clients but also a breach of binding laws passed by the organs of the Islamic Republic according to which lawyers have the same immunity from prosecution as judges do, when carrying out the duties of their profession. Clearly no lawyer should be subjected to threats, arrest, or legal prosecution for defending a client.

Considering these facts, we expect the Iranian government to take immediate action in releasing Mr. Soltani.

We, the undersigned, express our support for the legal and rightful demands of Iranian people in defending their freedoms and safeguarding their votes. We will stand by the people and we will defend their rights like we always have, and we call on the officials to stop the illegal widespread arrests and to properly respond to the public’s call to identify and prosecute those who have shot and killed people.


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