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Ear to the Ground

Iran Rights Lawyer Is Locked Away

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Posted on Jun 13, 2012
AP/Vahed Salemi

Soltani, right, listens in September 2003 as a judge abruptly ends the trial of a secret agent charged with murdering an Iranian-Canadian photographer who died in a Tehran prison.

Abdolfattah Soltani, a well-known Iranian lawyer who co-founded an organization that defends the rights of women, minorities and political prisoners, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his work and for what Iran’s hard-line judiciary called spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security.

Soltani, 58, co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center with former judge and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi. His original 18-year sentence had been reduced on appeal, and he was told it could be further reduced if he denounced Ebadi.

Soltani was jailed for many months in 2005 and 2009, both times for what the government deemed were political offenses.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

AP via The Guardian:

“My father was told that his sentence would be reduced [further] if he would apologise and speak out against Ms Ebadi in an open letter or an interview,” Maede Soltani said. “He declined.”

Amnesty International maintains Soltani is a “non-violent political prisoner who is being jailed only for his legitimate activities” as a human rights lawyer.

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