“His Continued Detention Is Neither Moral Nor Legal,” Says Soltani’s Wife
Massoumeh Dehghan, wife of human rights lawyer and founding member of Defenders of Human Rights Center Abdolfattah Soltani, who has been inside Evin Prison’s Ward 209 for the past two months, spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about her husband’s condition.
“Last Thursday I was able to see Mr. Soltani for about ten minutes. He had lost some weight and was complaining about remaining in prison in a state of limbo. It is really unfair to keep someone in prison for a long time and tell him that ‘it takes a long time to read his case file.’ If they have a reason for his detention, they must present it to the court as soon as possible. Continuing this situation is neither moral nor legal,” said Dehghan.
Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested on the afternoon of 10 September 2011. Throughout his career, Soltani has represented many prisoners of conscience such as Akbar Ganji and Haleh Esfandiari, as well as the families of Zahra Kazemi and Zahra Baniyaghoub, who died under suspicious circumstances while in detention. Soltani was previously arrested in 2009, and was released after two months in prison.
Dehghan told the Campaign that her husband’s case has been forwarded to Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, adding, “We expect that Mr. Soltani and his lawyer are allowed to read the case file. I also expect his case will be forwarded to a qualified, fair, and impartial branch, and that the legal process of his case is expedited as he has been in prison for two months without clarification of his situation, and his life and work have been disrupted. This treatment is not moral, based on Sharia, or legal.”
Dehghan also spoke about the personal items that were confiscated during Soltani’s arrest, saying, “Things we urgently need, such as ATM cards, Mr. Soltani’s automobile registration card, keys to his law offices, and even my personal educational CDs and family albums have not been returned yet. Despite orders from the court to return our personal items, I don’t know why they have not yet returned anything to us.”
“I expect my husband’s family and lawyers to be allowed to visit with him. The family is also entitled to in-person visits. These are our minimum requests. Based on Iranian laws and citizen’s rights, each prisoner should have these rights,” she added.