Abdolfattah Soltani

Iranian human rights lawyer and activist Abdolfattah Soltani has been sentenced to 13 years in jail by a Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that Soltani’s 13 year sentence was confirmed at the branch 54 of the Revolutionary Court and will have to be served in exile.

Maede Soltani, who resides in Germany, told AP that the sentence was “politically motivated” and that her father was told that his sentence would be reduced “if he were to apologize and speak out against Ms. Ebadi [Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi] in an open letter or an interview.”

Abdolfattah Soltani, like Ebadi, is one of the co-founders of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) in Iran, an NGO providing pro bono legal services in human rights cases. The centre is currently outlawed in Iran, and its members are all targets of continuous persecution.

Soltani will be exiled to the remote city of Borazjan to serve out his sentence, making it hard for his family to visit him.

Soltani;s charges included "propanada against the regime, founding the Defenders of Human Rights  Centre, and assembly and collusion against national security." He is also charged with "collecting pelf" for receiving the Nuremberg Human Rights award in 2009.

Soltani’s arrest and sentencing have been condemned by Amnesty International, which has called for his immediate release.