Iranian authorities have arrested the prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani in Tehran, according to reports out of Iran.
Security officials reportedly searched his home for hours today, Saturday, and later produced an arrest warrant for Soltani, who is also a member of Iran’s Human Rights Defenders Centre.
The charges have not been verified.
Soltani was previously arrested in June 2009 during the mass protests that broke out after the presidential election, over allegations of vote fraud in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory. The lawyer was held for 70 days and released on $100,000 bail.
The Iranian judiciary accused him of “challenging the elections, propaganda against the regime and establishing a group to act against national security.”
Germany’s Human Rights Office in Nuremberg gave Soltani a human rights award in December 2008, which he was unable to receive due to travel restrictions imposed on him by the Islamic Republic. His wife, Masoomeh Dehghani, accepted it on his behalf.
This past June, Dehghani was arrested and released on bail after five days. Soltani, who acted as his wife’s attorney, told ISNA that she was accused of distributing a 15,000-euro prize that came with the award among the families of political prisoners. Soltani added that he had not yet received any such prize.
Dehghani’s file remains open, and no sentence has been issued so far.
Soltani has represented numerous human rights cases, including those of Ali Afshari, Akbar Gangi, Haleh Esfandiari, the family of Zahra Kazemi, the family of Zahra Bani-Yaghoub and several Nationalist-Religious figures. He has also acted for numerous closed-down publications and student activists.