Prizewinner of the 2009 International Human Rights Award
For his struggle for the recognition of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
For the first time, in 2009, the prize was awarded in absence of the prize winner. Only a few minutes before boarding Abdolfattah Soltani's passport was seized by the Iranian authorities at Tehran airport. Soltani was prevented from leaving Iran.
Since September 2011 Abdolfattah Soltani is detained in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. The charges include: "founding the "Defenders of Human Rights Centre", "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security", "spreading propaganda against the system" and "accepting an illegal award" (the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award").
On 21 March 2018, the first day of the Iranian New Year, Abdolfattah Soltani has started a hunger strike to protest imposing discrimination against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Evin prison.
Based on Article 134, if a defendant is faced with more than one charges, the charge with the highest penalty will be taken into account. This means that Abdolfattah Soltani has served more than two third of his sentence and technically he can be granted conditional release.
Abdolfattah Soltani is still suffering from several diseases including acute neuronal colitis and fluctuating blood pressure after seven years in Evin Prison.
Engagement for Soltanis release
Worldwide numerous organizations, initiatives and individuals protest against Abdolfattah Soltanis detention. Among them (to name just a few), the United Nations, the European Parliament, amnesty international, fidh, the Federal Bar Association, the City of Nuremberg and numerous committed citizens.
Abdolfattah Soltani, born on November 2nd, 1953, has been fighting for the recognition of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with admirable courage.
As a prominent lawyer and member of the “Defenders of Human Rights Centre“ (DHRC) founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, he has represented nonviolent political prisoners in court, under extremely difficult conditions. In 2008, the DHRC was forcibly closed by state authorities.
In 2009 the City of Nuremberg awarded the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award to Abdolfattah Soltani. The jury, consisting of high functionaries of the UN-System and Nobel Peace Prize laurates, wished to honor his exemplary work for the recognition of those rights.
The jury gave the following reasons for its decision:
Abdolfattah Soltani has been fighting for the recognition of human rights in the „Islamic Republic of Iran“ with admirable courage and at high personal risk. As a lawyer and member of the „Defenders of Human Rights Centre“ founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, he has represented nonviolent political prisoners in court, in extremely difficult conditions, and has undauntedly made every effort to uncover and publicly denounce serious human rights violations by Iranian authorities. Neither threats and harassment by state authorities nor arbitrary arrests, several prison sentences and temporary bans from his profession, succeeded in preventing him from following his commitment to the struggle for the recognition of human rights in his home country. The Iranian state’s measures against Abdolfattah Soltani are obviously politically motivated and aimed at rendering his work as a lawyer impossible and at intimidating other defenders of human rights.
Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested for several times. Most recently in September 2011. He is currently being held in Evin prison in Tehran.