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Thursday, July 31, 2014 09:35

Jailed lawyer challenges statements by Iran's human rights chief

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Mohammad Javad Larijani - Abdolfattah Soltani

Detained Iranian lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani has said he will file a suit against the head of the human rights council in Iran’s judiciary for his recent statements in New York.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer who is currently behind bars in Iran, was informed by his wife about the statements by Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights council in Iran's judiciary.

Larijani told reporters at the United Nations yesterday: “In Iran, no one is imprisoned for being a lawyer or defending human rights. However, if an individual is involved in activities against national security, especially those involving terrorists, he will be imprisoned. Soltani has been linked to terrorist groups that are responsible for the death of more than 10,000 people in Iran.”

Soltani’s wife, Massoumeh Dehghan, announced that her husband has told her that he or his lawyer will sue Mohammad Javad Larijani for these statements against him.

Soltani has said that he has not been indicted with the charges mentioned by Larijani in New York, and neither have any charges against him been proven in court.

Dehghan told the Campaign that Soltani has already been indicted, and the charges against him in no way resemble those mentioned by Larijani in New York.

She added that these statements are a reiteration of allegations brought against Abdolafattah Soltani more than two years ago by Tehran’s former prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi. Soltani reportedly was arrested for spying but was acquitted of the charges after seven months in prison.

Soltani says the charges against him are “propaganda against the regime, establishment of the Human Rights Defenders Centre of Iran, assembly and collusion against national security and receiving the Nuremberg Human Rights Award in 2008.”

Soltani, who has defended some of Iran’s high-profile human rights cases, such as those of Ali Afshari, Akbar Ganji, Zahra Kazemi and several nationalist-religious activists, was arrested on September 10 and is currently awaiting his trial.