“One of His Charges is ‘Receiving an Illegal Prize,'” Says Prominent Lawyer’s Wife
Massoumeh Dehghan, wife of lawyer and co-founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center Abdolfattah Soltani, expressed concern about her husband’s conditions and her lack of contact with him for the past several days. “Mr. Soltani himself told me when he called that his charges are ‘propagating against the regime,’ ‘establishing the Defenders of Human Rights Center,’ ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’ and ‘accepting an unlawful prize.’ By ‘unlawful prize,’ they mean the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, which Mr. Soltani received in 2009,” Dehghan told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Dehghan told the Campaign that she was able to retrieve only three of the many items taken from her home during Soltani’s arrest, but the other items remain in the custody of Intelligence Ministry forces.
“We are concerned, as Mr. Soltani has not called home in five days. He suffers from digestive track illness and this worries us. In his last contact, my husband said that he is inside Ward 209 of Evin Prison along with 10 or 12 other prisoners. He contacted us three times the first week and now we are shocked that he has not contacted us even once in five days. His lawyer went to prison and asked around, but the authorities told him that he has no problems and is well. But we are worried,” said Dehghan. “The prison authorities told him that his objection to his detention has been forwarded to the court and now we have to wait for the court’s opinion, to see whether this objection is overruled or he will be released on bail,” she added.
Abdolfattah Soltani has represented many political and human rights activists and their families such as Akbar Ganji, Zahra Kazemi, Zahra Baniyaghoub, Haleh Esfandiari, several Nationalist-Religious figures and Iranian union activists. He has been arrested several times. He was arrested in 2005 and was acquitted of all charges seven months later. He was arrested again in 2009 after the presidential election, and served two months in prison.
Massoumeh Dehghan, Abdolfattah Soltani’s wife, is a retired teacher who has never engaged in any political activities. She was arrested on 5 July after appearing before Evin Prison Court following a summons she had received three days earlier. She spent five days in a solitary cell and was later released on bail of $30,000. Her charge was accepting the “illegal” Nuremberg International Human Rights Prize. In 2009, when Soltani was awarded the Nuremberg International Human Rights Prize, Dehghan received the award on Soltani’s behalf because he was banned from foreign travel. Dehghan received a summons stating her charge following her arrest to appear before Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court on 8 November.