Another recent case is that of human rights lawyer Ms. Nasrin Sotudeh, known for defending juveniles facing death penalty, prisoners of conscience, human rights activists and children victims of abuse, serving a six year prison term in Section 350 of Evin prison, who has been banned from having family visits for three weeks as of October 16, 2010, on the pretext that she refuses to wear the chador, although there are no laws requiring the prisoners to wear the chador. In addition, she has not been denied the right to have meetings in person for over three months, contrary to prison rules according to which prisoners may meet their family members in person once a month.
Besides, human rights lawyer Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, a founding member of the DHRC, who was arrested on September 10, 2011, was recently threatened by his interrogator of a prison sentence of 20 years on charges of “participation in founding the Defenders of Human Rights Centre”, “propaganda against the system”, “assembly and collusion against national security”, and “earning illegitimate assets” through receiving the Nuremberg City’s Human Rights Prize in 2009. Following his arrest, he has been held incommunicado in Section 209 of the Ministry of Intelligence within Evin Prison’s premise. Last week his family was allowed to visit him for the first time. The investigation is closed and under such conditions, Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani should have been released on bail pending trial and a final decision. Nevertheless, Mr. Soltani’s detention order was extended for another month in late September.
Finally, Mr. Amir Eslami, a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Iranian Bar Association and a lawyer of Gonabadi Dervishes, who has been in solitary detention since September 4, was recently transferred to Evin Prison’s clinic owing to serious health problems. Other imprisoned lawyers of Dervishes are Messrs. Farshid Yadollahi, Omid Behroozi, Afshin Karampour, Reza Entessari and Hamidreza Moradi and are being held in Section 209 of the Ministry of Intelligence within Evin Prison’s premises. The latter is also reported to have heart ailment. None of them have been granted access to their families or lawyers since they were detained.
The Observatory firmly denounces the policy of harassment of human rights defenders through arbitrary detention, judicial harassment and punitive measures in prison, which only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities. It also urges the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained, and more generally to conform to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments ratified by Iran.