Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (22 November) on the release of Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Abdolfattah Soltani:
Abdolfattah Soltani is free at last. He spent the past seven years in prison for his courageous and untiring efforts in defence of human rights in Iran.
Germany has worked for years to bring about his release and achieve better medical care and better conditions in prison. Finally, yesterday, he was released. That is very good news. I am delighted for him and his family.
Many of his fellow campaigners for human rights in Iran remain in jail – including Narges Mohammadi and Nasrin Sotoudeh. I call for their immediate release!
Lawyer and human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani is a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Center was closed by the Iranian authorities towards the end of 2008. He was awarded the City of Nuremberg’s International Human Rights Award in 2009.
He has been imprisoned repeatedly for his human rights advocacy, most recently early in September 2011. He was convicted of establishing an illegal organisation, taking part in anti government meetings, spreading anti government propaganda and accepting an unlawful award, and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. He was also banned from practising law for 10 years. Even during his imprisonment he continued to work for human rights in Iran.