One day after Mohammad Javad Larijani claimed that distinguished human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, who is currently inside Evin Prison, was connected to terrorist groups, his wife, Massoumeh Dehghan, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Soltani has never faced such an accusation and that he and his lawyers will be filing a lawsuit against Larijani for the false accusations he leveled against her husband.
Dehghan told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she visited her husband this morning and told him about Larijani’s statements during his press conference in New York yesterday. “He said, ‘If it’s possible, I’ll file the suit myself, but my hands are tied here as I have no pen and no paper. But because of the unfounded accusation made against me, a charge about which I have not been informed, nor has it been proven, I will either file a lawsuit against him myself, or I will ask my lawyers to do this on my behalf.’”
During a press conference at the United Nations in New York yesterday, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council, responded to a question about the arrests of human rights lawyers such as Abdolfattah Soltani. “No lawyer is in prison because he is a lawyer or he is a defender of human rights. But any person who is involved in activities which are against the security of the state, especially their relations with terrorist groups … Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani has relations with terrorist groups which are responsible for murdering more than 10,000 people in Iran,” Larijani told the reporters.
“Mr. Soltani and his lawyers have been informed about his charges. The case’s indictment has been submitted, his conviction ruling has been issued, and his case has been transferred to the judicial court branch and we have never heard such things. This is a continuation of Mr. Mortazavi’s [Saeed Mortazavi, former Tehran Prosecutor] story who called Soltani a spy after his arrest several years ago. My husband was acquitted later and of course none of them ever even apologized, let alone paid damages for his serving seven months in prison and in solitary confinement. Really, if someone collaborated with terrorists, how come they only remembered this two months after his arrest?” said Dehghan.
In an earlier interview with the Campaign, Dehghan affirmed her husband’s charges. “Mr. Soltani himself told me when he called that his charges are ‘propagating against the regime,’ ‘establishing the Defenders of Human Rights Center,’ ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’ and ‘accepting an unlawful prize.’ By ‘unlawful prize,’ they mean the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, which Mr. Soltani received in 2009.”
Authorities arrested Soltani, co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, on 10 September 2011. Currently, he is being held in Ward 209 in Evin Prison. This is Soltani’s third arrest since 2005.
Reacting to Larijani’s statements, Dehghan told the Campaign, “All I can say is that I’m really sorry. From a legal stance, Mr. Larijan’s conduct is a crime. So long as Mr. Soltani has not appeared before a court and his charges have not been proven, he is not allowed to make such statements. As the Judiciary Deputy for Human Rights, he must know these things. Even if such charges are accurate and Mr. Soltani is a criminal, so long as [these accusations] are not proven, [Larijani] is not supposed to talk about them. And, secondly, based on what reasoning and evidence did he make these statements?”
“Because of the unfounded allegations leveled against my husband and the damage this has caused my family, I want my husband’s lawyers to file suit against Mr. Larijani and I hope that [this lawsuit] is reviewed in an impartial court,” added Dehghan.
According to Abdolfattah Soltani’s wife, the lawyer and co-founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center’s temporary detention orders were extended for two more months today.