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March 13, 2013

Rule of Law Letter on Iran's treatment of human rights lawyer and advocate Abdolfattah Soltani

The ABA issued a Rule of Law Letter on behalf of ABA President Laurel G. Bellows expressing concern about the Government of Iran's treatment of human rights lawyer and advocate, Abdolfattah Soltani. A co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, Mr. Soltani was sentenced in 2012 to 18 years in prison (later reduced to 13 years), and his law license revoked for 20 years, on various charges related to his human rights advocacy, including spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security. These charges are similar to those filed against another prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, about which ABA President Stephen Zack expressed concern in November 2011 (letter enclosed for reference). The charges and convictions appear to represent a pattern of governmental harassment against human rights lawyers and advocates in Iran, in contravention of well-established international human rights law and principles.