Category Archives: Lawyers

A Buddhist and Hindu ritual ceremony of prayer for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s freedom

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – A group of Hindu worshipers and Tibetan Buddhist monks held ceremonies for incarcerated human rights lawyer on hunger strike, Nasrin Sotoudeh. In this religious ceremony of Yagya (holy sacrifice) that took place in India at the Nine Star temple, prayer rituals were held for the health and release of Nasrin Sotoudeh.

According to the facebook page of Nasrin’s husband Reza Khandan, despite the fact that prison authorities announced that Nasrin Sotoudeh was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison, the officials in charge of the ward denied that she is being held in that location and her whereabouts are unknown.

A Buddhist and Hindu ritual ceremony of prayer for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s freedom

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani sentenced to 18 years in prison and exile to the city Borazjan

Human Rights House of Iran – Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani to18 years in prison and exile to the city of Borazjan.

Abdolfattah Soltani , award winning human rights lawyer, was detained on September 10, 2011 and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison. Judge Pir-Abassi presiding over Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court handed down an 18-year prison sentence that has been announced to Abdolfattah Soltani’s lawyers. In addition to the prison term, this human rights lawyer was handed a 20-year ban from practicing law.

Human Rights House reports that the sentencing stemmed from the charges of “propaganda against the regime,” “co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center [with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi]” and “assembly and collusion against the regime.” In addition he was charged with “accepting an illegal prize” and “illegal earnings” stemming from the prize.

The mayor of Nuremberg, Germany awarded Abdollah Soltani the Nuremberg prize for Human Rights in 2009 and his wife accepted the reward on his behalf. The Nuremberg Prize has been awarded yearly to a human rights activist since 1995.

Abdolfatah Soltani, born on November 2, 1953, is a prominent human rights lawyer, a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and serves on the board of directors of the Bar Association. During his tenure as a lawyer he has defended cases with issues of human rights violations for many including political activists, students and journalists.

Soltani had been arrested before in 2006 and spent 209 days in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Evin prison. He had pled the cases of scientists accused of spying on Iran’s nuclear program and charged with espionage. He was subsequently charged with “illegal divulgence of secret and confidential information” of one of his clients.

At that time Soltani was also defending the cases of journalists Akbar Ganji and Zahra Kazemi. Ganji had broken stories of government officials involved in the murders of intellectuals and journalists in the 1990’s. Zahra Kazemi was an Iranian-Canadian journalist who was arrested for taking photos in front of Evin prison. She was tortured and died while in custody in Evin prison in July 2003. The intelligence agent charged with being responsible for her death was acquitted and with Soltani’s help, her family was in the process of appealing to a get a new enquiry started.

Amnesty International said it believed that false charges were brought against Soltani in order to obstruct him from practicing his profession and intimidating other lawyers and stopping them from pursuing human rights cases. After his detention last September the organization said “Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the bravest human rights defenders in Iran.”

The lower court in the 2006 case presided by Judge Mortazavi sentenced Soltani to 5 years in prison. However after spending 209 days behind bars, the Court of Appeals struck down the sentence and handed Soltani a full acquittal.

Soltani was released with no apology, admittance of wrongdoing or retribution from the Justice Ministry. His efforts to have judicial authorities responsible for his arrest prosecuted heeded no results.

This prominent attorney had also been arrested on June 16, 2009 following the disputed presidential elections after which on August 27, 2009 he was released with an $80,000 bail.

Human Rights House of Iran

Abdolfattah Soltani

Nasrin Sotoudeh Transferred to Prison Infirmary, Hunger Strikes Continue

Kaleme – According to reports received from Evin prison, Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer on her a dry hunger strike was transferred to Evin’s infirmary on December 16th as a result of her rapidly deteriorating health. This is the third time Nasrin Sotoudeh has launched a hunger strike in the 100 days she has been incarcerated. Even though her physical health is dire as a result of her dwindling strength she has refused to end her hunger strike.

Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh’s husband and her two children are extremely worried for her wellbeing. To make matters worse, as a result of the Muharram holidays they have not been able to reach the judicial authorities to inquire about her condition.

According to reports received by Kaleme, Nima, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s three year old toddler continues to ask about his mother’s whereabouts and does not understand why his sister and father are so worried. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s daughter, Mehrabeh, who is only twelve years old, has been consoling her three year old brother these days.

Arash Sadeghi, a philosophy graduate student at Allameh Tabatabai University and Gholam Hossein Arashi, who had both protested last year’s election results, are two other prisoners currently on hunger strike in Evin and in dire physical condition. Arashi’s family who live in the city of Karaj are very concerned for their son’s well being and have no one to go to since government offices are closed for the Muharram holidays.

Gholam Hossein Arashi is one of the less known prisoners arrested after the rigged elections. Arashi was one of the 16 prisoners in Evin’s ward 350 who went on a two week hunger strike in the month of August protesting the unacceptable prison conditions. Arashi was arrested on February 6th last year and has endured very difficult conditions in ward 209 and ward 240 of Evin prison.

It is also reported that the physical conditions have deteriorated for imprisoned labour activist Reza Shahabi and imprisoned movie director and journalist Mohammad Nourizad, both who are also on hunger strike. Nourizad who reportedly suffered from gastric bleeding was transferred to the hospital. Reza Shahabi whose physical condition has deteriorated considerably is still on a hunger strike but is now drinking water. The officials have yet to respond to his complaints regarding the lack of attention to his case file.


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Nasrin Sotoudeh

Jailed Nasrin Sotoudeh Back on Hunger Strike

Radio Farda –  Reza Khandan has confirmed that his wife jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is back on hunger strike.  She began the hunger strike on Sunday to protest the mishandling of her case file.

In an interview with Radio Farda, Khandan said that Sotoudeh is on a dry hunger strike. He stated that during their last meeting his wife was “extremely weak, her face had turned black and the children cried the whole time.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh had previously gone on hunger strike on September 25th and stopped around October 26th. According to her husband, the human rights lawyer had threatened that she would go on hunger strike again if her prison conditions did not change. Khandan said, “Mrs. Sotoudeh is protesting her incarceration along with the mishandling of her case file. She had said in the past that she would break her first hunger strike only on the condition that the promises made to her were kept, but it is now clear that nothing has changed.”

This is happening even though there was news that on Sunday, Tehran’s Attorney General visited the prison and had a meeting with Sotoudeh. Khandan said that Sotoudeh had already begun her hunger strike that day and, since her meeting with Tehran’s Attorney General did not change her mind about anything, she has re-commenced her hunger strike.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is charged with acting against national security, congregation and collusion with intent to disrupt national security,  and cooperation with the Center for Human Rights Defenders. She is incarcerated since September 3, 2010.

The lawyer’s immediate release has been requested by many human rights agencies including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.

Political and human rights activists have also protested against her arrest and demanded her release, including Vaclav Havel (former president of the Czech Republic), Shirin Ebadi (human rights lawyer), and Zahra Rahnavard (wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi).

Radio Farda

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Visitation ban still on for Nasrin Sotoudeh, husband reports

Human Rights House of Iran –   Desperate to get any news regarding his wife, Reza Khandan went to the visitation lounge of Evin prison yesterday in hopes of gaining permission to visit Nasrin Sotoudeh, but like previous times in the past he was rejected.

According to the Feminist School, Reza Khandan said that despite the delivery of a letter from Alireza Avaiee, the head of Tehran’s justice department, to the office of the Assistant Attorney-General, no response has been given. The letter states that based on legal rights, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s family should be granted visitation, especially after 40 days of her incarceration. Reza Khandan explained, “Despite the letter by Mr. Avaiee, today, when I went again to the visiting lounge and requested to see my spouse, I was told that she is not permitted to have any visitors. Normally on Thursdays the family members of the ward 209 [prisoners] are allowed to meet with their loved ones, so I made another attempt to see her hoping that perhaps Mr. Avaiee’s letter that mentioned her legal rights had some effect, but, unfortunately, nothing has changed.”

Reza Khandan expressed his feelings of distress and worry over his wife’s situation and objected to the illegal action of banning her family from visits. He said, “Isn’t her file now complete and the investigation over, then why is she not allowed one phone call or one visitation? We don’t even know if she is in good health.” A hunger strike that is nearing a month is no joke. Right now I really don’t know what grim situation my wife is under or what the fate of my children will be.” Nasrin Sotoudeh is held  in ward 209 of Evin prison since September 4, 2010 and launched a hunger strike on September 25th. During this period, there was no news on her aside from a three second phone call she made to announce her hunger strike.

Human Rights House of Iran 

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Nasrin Sotoudeh

Shabnam Madadzadeh suffers after given false hope by Prosecutor

Daneshjoonews –  In an unexpected move this morning deputies in Rajai Shahr prison banned Shabnam Madadzadeh, a jailed member of the Islamic Association of Tarbiat-Moalem University, from prison visits and using the telephone.

According to Daneshjoo News, the bans come two months after Shabnam Madadzadeh was transferred from Evin to Rajai Shahr prison on August 2, 2010. She has not been allowed any prison leave since her arrest on February 20, 2009. Despite her young age, Shabnam suffers miserably from digestive ailments and heart disease.

While held in Evin, Shabnam had requested a sick leave from Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi during her last visit with him. Two weeks later her sick leave was promised to her family, but instead she was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison.

The warden of Rajai Shahr prison Ali Mohammadi verbally communicated the ruling to Shabnam Madadzadeh and responded to her protest that the reason for the transfer was known to him but it was none of her business. He gave Shabnam Madadzadeh a few seconds to say goodbye to her family over the phone. According to reliable sources, Shabnam’s physical and mental condition has deteriorated considerably since this incident.

Human rights activist and jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh,  who is also one of Shabnam Madadzadeh’s lawyers, said that transferring Shabnam to Rajai Shahr prison is against the law. “Even though Ms. Madadzadeh was sentenced to 5 years in prison and exile to Rajai Shahr prison, transferring her under the pretext of exile is entirely arbitrary and against the law. The final decision of the Appeals Court has not been given to me or the defendant. This was not a formal decision and will not be acceptable until it is communicated to us. The decision has no legitimacy, therefore the transfer is completely illegal,” she stated.

Prior to the transfer, Shabnam Madadzadeh had endured incarceration in ward 209 of Evin prison for 520 days. Bahare Hedayat, Mahdieh Golroo, Shiva Nazarahari and Mahboubeh Karami were also held in this ward.

“Faulty Courts and Prison Transfer”

After a year of temporary imprisonment, Tehran’s branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Shabnam and her brother Farzad to 5 years imprisonment and exile. Judge Moghiseh convicted both of them of “moharebeh” [waging was against God] and “propaganda against the regime”. They both denied all charges against them on numerous occasions and insisted on their innocence. During the trials, judge Moghiseh was verbally abusive and used profanity with Shabnam Madadzadeh.

During the court appearances Shabnam protested the torture methods that were used on her and her brother. She recounted how she was forced to witness kicks, punches, lashings, and torture toward Farzad in prison. This was a method employed by officials to force Shabnam to make false confessions. Judge Moghiseh announced in court and in front of lawyers that this was not considered torture.

Recently, judge Moghiseh has handed out most of the verdicts against students, including one’s for Milad Asadi and Bahare Hedayat.

Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj is a notoriously horrendous and most gruesome dwelling for political prisoners in Iran. Many political prisoners, including  Ahmad Zeidabadi, Isa Saharkhiz, Masoud Bastani, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, Rassoul Badaghi, Massoud Osanloo, Behrooz Javid Tehrani, and others are held in this prison. They are detained under the worse conditions and tremendously mistreated by prison officials.

Another issue is that the most dangerous criminals are also detained in Gohardasht prison, which means that political prisoners are faced with menacing threats and attacks. For Shabnam, it is most troublesome that she is one of the only women held for political reasons in this prison. Most of the other female prisoners are accused of heavy crimes like murder and drug trafficking.

Fatemeh Ziyayi is another female political prisoner recently transferred to Rajai Shahr prison. She is around 60 years old and suffers from multiple sclerosis.

In the past months, tensions have been high in ward 350 of Evin prison after the protests of many political prisoners. Bozorgnia, the head of ward 350, threatened several prisoners, including Majid Tavakoli, Ali Malihi, Zia Nabavi and Majid Dori with exile to Rajai Shahr prison. Since the threat was made, Majid Tavakoli was transferred to Rajai Shahr and Zia Nabavi was transferred to exile in Ahvaz’s Karoun prison.



Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Being Severely Tortured

Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is under severe physical and psychological torture by her interrogators.

According to Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, interrogators in prison are torturing jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who is on her 20th day of hunger strike.

News from Evin prison’s ward 209 is that even though Nasrin Sotoudeh is on hunger strike, the interrogators keep torturing her. The ward hears her agonizing cries in the middle of the night caused from pain and torment.

Her haunting cries have been extremely distressing for the other political prisoners. According to this report Nasrin Sotoudeh’s screams can be heard almost every night throughout the ward.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a passionate defender of human rights and she routinely questioned the legitimacy of the current laws in Iran. She protested the illegal conduct against her clients that occurred with the knowledge of the judges, Intelligence agents, and interrogators.

On September 4, 2010, she was arrested at her home by Intelligence agents and taken to ward 209 of Evin prison. Nasrin Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike since September 25th to protest against her illegal arrest and unbearable suffering.

Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran asks the UN High Commissioner along with all internal and international agencies to demand the immediate and unconditional release of this noble and honorable lawyer who is devoted to humanity.