map

Abdolfatah Soltani

Iran Human rights lawyer arrested and convicted because of forming the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and taking on politically sensitive cases

Abdolfattah Soltani works in Teheran, where he acted on behalf of journalist Akbar Ganji (Ganji exposed the involvement of government officials in the murders of intellectuals and journalists, and was arrested on charges of endangerment of national security) and the family of the Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, who was tortured and murdered in prison in 2003.

Soltani was arrested in July 2005, a week after saying at a hearing in the Kazemi case that Kazemi had been in the custody of state police when she was murdered, reproaching the authorities and claiming that they were protecting the people responsible. Shirin Ebadi, with whom Soltani worked on the case, was openly threatened that same week by the judicial authorities. On 6 March 2006 Soltani was released on bail.

On 16 July 2006 Soltani was sentenced to prison for five years. Soltani had disclosed secret information from clients he represented in charges of espionage in Iran’s nuclear programme. Neither Soltani nor his lawyers were allowed to attend the hearing. Soltani was subsequently disbarred.

On 28 May 2007 Soltani was acquitted of all charges on appeal. Since then, he has been hindered in other ways. His passport has repeatedly been confiscated by the government. In 2009, this made it impossible for him to travel to Germany to receive the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award.

Following the protests against the victory of Ahmadinejad at the elections of 12 June 2009, Soltani was abducted and taken to an unknown location on 16 June 2009. On 7 April it turned out that he was being held in the notorious Evan prison. The charge concerned the founding of the DHRC in 2002, which was dissolved by the Iranian government in 2006. Soltani was released on bail at the end of August 2009.

On 4 march 2012 the Islamic Revolution Court has condemned Soltani to 13 years in prison. He was convicted on charges of “propaganda against the system”, “participation in founding the Human Rights Defenders Centre”, assembly and collusion against national security” as well as “earning illegitimate assets” through receiving the Nuremberg City’s Human Rights prize in 2009.

Latest news


Iran Letter to President Rouhani: ‘Review cases detained lawyers’

04 Mar 15 On Lawyers Day in Iran, Wednesday 26 February, L4L expressed its concerns regarding the situation of seven detained lawyers in a letter to President Rouhani. It concerns the lawyers Mostafa Daneshjo, Amir Islami, Farshid Yadollahi, Afshin Karampoor, Omid Behroozi, Mohammed Seifzadeh and Abdolfatah Soltani. L4L is concerned that these seven lawyers are detained only in relation […]

Iran Abdolfattah Soltani ends hungerstrike

13 Nov 13 L4L received information that Abdolfattah Soltani ended his hunger strike. He went on hunger strike on 2 November 2013 to protest against the lack of proper medical care for himself and other prisoners of conscious jailed in Tehran’s Evin prison. Abdolfattah Soltani is a prominent human rights lawyer, and was spokesman for the Human Rights Defenders’ Center (CHRD). […]

Iran Abdolfattah Soltani awarded with IBA Human Rights Award

05 Oct 12 On the annual conference of the International Bar Association (IBA), the IBA Human Rights Award 2012 was awarded to Abdolfattah Soltani. Soltani is the co-founder of the Defender of Human Rights Centre(DHRC) and acted on behalf of, among others, journalist Akbar Ganji (Ganji exposed the involvement of government officials in the murders of intellectuals and […]

Iran Passport Abdolfatah Soltani confiscated

12 Oct 09 On 2 October 2009, the Iranian authorities confiscated Abdolfatah Soltani’s passport. At that moment Soltani was about to travel to Germany in order to receive the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award. He was also summoned at the Secretariat of the Iranian President. The incident is a new example of a lengthy series of intimidations against […]

(Nederlands) Iran Abdolfattah Soltani wederom gevangengenomen en vermist

10 Jul 09 Sorry, this entry is not available in English.

News Iran


Iran New verdict on suspension license Nasrin Sotoudeh

27 Jun 15 On 23 June 2015, Nasrin Sotoudeh was informed about the new verdict issued by Branch 2 of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Court of the Bar Association, which stated that the sentence suspending her lawyer’s license was reduced from 3 years to 9 months. Nine months have already passed since the previous verdict was issued, which could […]

Iran Lawyers bill must be tested against Basic Principles

19 Mar 15 Lawyers for Lawyers today contributed to the UPR process of Iran, indicating its concerns about the draft law providing rules for lawyers and the bar association. This law would seriously affect lawyers’ independence in Iran. Together with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, L4L recommended this bill to be carefully tested against the provisions of the UN Basic Principles on the […]

Iran Letter to President Rouhani: ‘Review cases detained lawyers’

04 Mar 15 On Lawyers Day in Iran, Wednesday 26 February, L4L expressed its concerns regarding the situation of seven detained lawyers in a letter to President Rouhani. It concerns the lawyers Mostafa Daneshjo, Amir Islami, Farshid Yadollahi, Afshin Karampoor, Omid Behroozi, Mohammed Seifzadeh and Abdolfatah Soltani. L4L is concerned that these seven lawyers are detained only in relation […]

Iran Authorities should allow Masoud Shafii to travel and do his work

30 Jan 15 The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) asked attention for the situation of Iranian lawyer Masoud Shafii in a letter to the Iranian authorities on 15 January. This lawyer represented three American hikers who were detained in Iran from July 2009 to September 2011. After their release, mr. Shafii’s house was searched […]

Iran L4L urges authorities to stop harassing Nasrin Sotoudeh

12 Dec 14 L4L was informed that on Wednesday 10 December 2014, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested and detained for several hours by the Iranian authorities. Her husband confirmed her arrest on Facebook, adding that it was the authorities’ present to them on the occasion of international human rights day, which is celebrated annually on 10 December. Nasrin Sotoudeh is […]