Abdolfattah Soltani

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) had found that the Islamic Republic’s incarceration of Iranian lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is arbitrary, and the UN watchdog has called for his immediate release.

Last August, Soltani’s case was referred to the WGAD by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

Soltani was sentenced to 13 years in prison and exile to Borazjan in June of 2012. Many members of the Iranian NGO known as the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) have been subject to prosecution following the 2009 presidential election and the widespread crackdown on protesters who claimed the election was rigged to guarantee victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mohammad Seifzadeh and Mohammadali Dadkhah are three other members of the DHRC who are now serving prison terms in Iran.

The president of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Souhayr Behassen, called the WGAD decisions a “landmark victory”, adding: “Abdolfattah Soltani must be released immediately, and the same holds true for the other DHRC founding members, who are also in jail.”