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|2010 8 Aug
||The sentence of 20 years in prison was announced for members of the "Yaran-i-Iran" or "Friends of Iran" in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Moqayesseh (or Moghiseh)*. The charges were several: "espionage", "collaborating with enemy states", "insulting the sacred", "propaganda against the state" and "forming an illegal group". The prominent civil and human rights lawyer who defended them was Mr Abdolfattah Soltani. He would later serve a 13-year sentence in the Evin Prison for engaging in his profession. Another member of their legal defense team was the attorney Hadi Esmailzadeh who died in 2016 while serving a 4-year prison term for defending human rights cases. After the sentencing the seven Bahá'í leaders were sent to Raja’i prison in the city of Karaj (Gohardasht) , about 50 kilometers west of Tehran. [BWNS789]
Raja’i prison in Mashhad has frequently been criticized by human rights advocates for its unsanitary environment, lack of medical services, crowded prison cells and unfair treatment of inmates by guards. [Wikipedia; Iran Press Watch 6315].
Soon after their arrival four of the Yaran were transferred to room 17 in Section 6 of this notorious prison. Section 6 is infamous in human rights circles. It has often been the scene of bloody fighting among prisoners and it is considered extremely dangerous. It is where certain political prisoners have been sent to vanish. At first the Mafia-like gangs incarcerated in the same facility began to refer to the Yaran as “infidels”. The authorities also tried to pressure other prisoners to insult and belittle the newly-arrived Bahá'ís, but it appeared that most other prisoners refused to comply with this suggestion. In fact, it was reported that most other prisoners were showing considerable respect to the Bahá'ís and tried to be hospitable. [Iran Press Watch 667]
* For a profile of Judge Mohammad Moghiseh see Iran Press Watch 17764 .
||Tihran; Mashhad; Iran
||Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution; Court cases; Evin Prison; Gohardasht prison; Abdolfattah Soltani; Hadi Esmailzadeh; Moghiseh; Human rights; Prisons; BWNS; Z****
|2011 24 Sep
||The arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a senior member of the legal team (4 lawyers) representing a number of Bahá'ís in Iran awaiting trial for providing higher education to youth barred from university. Soltani is a co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and others. The Tehran-based Centre was shut down in a police raid in December 2008. [BWNS849]
In 2008 when Shirin Ebadi took the defense of seven Bahá'ís she was accused of changing her religion and her law office was attacked and faced other problems. [Iran Press Watch]
U.S Bahá'í Office of Public Affairs Press Release.
See interview with Mr Soltani by Iran Press Watch.
||Abdolfattah Soltani; Lawyers; Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE); Persecution; Human Rights; Education; BWNS; Yaran; Persecution, Education