IRN 002 / 0609 / OBS 084 - Arrest / Incommunicado detention

Urgent Appeal

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) of the arrest and incommunicado detention of Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer at the Bar of Tehran and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC).

According to the information received, on June 16, 2009, Mr. Soltani was arrested in front of his home by four plainclothes persons who handcuffed him and brought him with them. As of issuing this urgent appeal, no information could be obtained regarding his whereabouts.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern with the incommunicado detention of this long-standing human rights defender, amid current general crackdown on the Iranian civil society, and recalls that he was already harassed on several occasions in the past (see background information).

The Observatory calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Soltani and all human rights defenders, other civil society activists, as well as opponents presently detained or held incommunicado in Iran, and more generally to put an end to all forms of harassment against them.

Background information:

Mr. Soltani had been arrested on July 30, 2005, while taking part in a sit-in at the Tehran Bar to protest against an arrest warrant issued against him by the Public Prosecutor for “espionage”.

On March 6, 2006, Mr. Soltani had been released after a bail of 100,000 euros had been paid, thanks to a national and international movement of solidarity.

On July 16, 2006, he was informed that the Revolutionary Court had sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment and the loss of his civic rights for “non-respect of the confidentiality of the preliminary enquiry”, in a trial in which Mr. Soltani appeared for the family of the victim, and during which he had questioned the independence of justice.

Mr. Soltani had appealed the decision.

Although Mr. Soltani was acquitted on May 28, 2007 of all charges that were pending against him since July 2005, the Iranian authorities seized his identity documents (i.e. passport and family record book), thus preventing him from exercising his freedom of movement, in violation of Article 12.2 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In this regard, Mr. Soltani, who had been officially invited by FIDH to come to France from October 25 to 31, 2007 in order to take part in a conference on “Freedom of expression in Iran” that was held at Sorbonne university on October 27, 2007, had been unable to travel.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

i.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani and all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii.Make Mr. Soltani’s whereabouts public and release him immediately and unconditionally;

iii.Put an end to acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Iran;

iv.Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, its article 5(c), which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, [...] to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.


· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email: / /

· President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880. Email:

· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email:

· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Manouchehr Mottaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 390 1999, Email:

· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:

· Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to diplomatic representations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in your respective countries.


Paris - Geneva, June 16, 2009

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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