Daughter of Imprisoned Rights Lawyer Accuses Intelligence Minister of Blocking His Release
The daughter of an imprisoned prominent human rights lawyer has accused Iran’s hardline Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi of blocking the release of her ailing father, Abdolfattah Soltani, who is legally eligible for early release.
“Six years have passed since my father Abdolfattah Soltani’s incarceration,” wrote Maedeh Soltani, in a letter published on February 22, 2017 by the reformist Kalame website. “Obviously, the least a prisoner can ask for is justice, but unfortunately my father’s case was closed before it was even read.”
“Three years ago, four judges ruled that the sentence against my father is essentially without merit, but his case has been locked inside the judiciary chief’s office… because your agents are using their influence to keep it closed and prevent the implementation of the law concerning early release from prison,” she added.
Maedeh Soltani also reminded the intelligence minister that her father has only been granted medical furlough (temporary release) once during six years of imprisonment, despite suffering from various ailments, including blood pressure fluctuations, anemia and severe digestive problems.”
Political prisoners in Iran are subjected to harsh conditions over and above their prison sentences, including the denial of medical care.
“As the intelligence minister, you do not want to be the cause of something terrible happening to a prisoner, I’m sure, and therefore I ask for an investigation into my father’s case as soon as possible,” she said.
Abdolfattah Soltani, 64, is a well-known lawyer who has represented various dissidents and political prisoners in Iran.
Imprisoned since September 2011, he has been serving a 13-year prison sentence for “being awarded the  Nuremberg International Human Rights Award,” “giving interviews to the media about his clients’ cases,” and “co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center” in Iran with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi.
Having served more than half his sentence, Soltani is eligible for parole based on Article 58 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, which states “…the deciding court can issue the order of conditional release for convicts sentenced to more than ten years imprisonment after half of the sentence is served, and in other cases after one-third of the sentence is served.”
“We have frequently asked the judiciary to make an independent decision on my father’s case,” Maedeh Soltani told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in November 2016.
“We want them to either facilitate my father’s freedom, or hold a new trial with a fair and impartial judge to investigate my father’s case… It seems that judiciary officials are determined not to respond to our numerous requests for his conditional release,” she added.