Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lawyers Threaten to Protest

Rooz Online:
While in their inner-circle meetings legal attorneys had threatened to launch group protest, two nights ago imprisoned attorney Abdolfattah Soltani who also happens to be a member of the board of directors of Iran’s Bar Association telephoned his family to inform them of his health and that his case would soon be resolved.

Soltani was arrested last week and taken directly to ward 209 of notorious Evin prison where the harshest solitary confinement cells are located and where the most serious tortures of dissidents take place. Earlier, he had staged a sit-in protest in his Bar Association office. He is reportedly charged with releasing information concerning the detainees who have been arrested on charges related to Iran’s nuclear program. READ MORE

A team of eight legal attorneys of the Bar Association have taken up Soltani's case who is also a member of a human rights association. Mrs. Farideh Gheyrat, one of the eight attorneys has said,“We haven't yet met the prosecutor and we don't know how the news of Soltani's confession in television has come out.” We eight attorneys are trying to meet with him while his interrogator has promised to arrange for a meeting with him sometime next week,” she added.

While reiterating her optimism in the case, she added that Soltani’s interrogator had assured them that they would return Soltani's belongings and his children's educational documents.

Gheyrat further explained that no official in the judiciary had insinuated that Soltani was accused of spying and the judiciary's spokesman has explicitly stated that Soltani had not been accused of this. The spokesman, according to Gheyrat, said that his charges are related to conversations that he had with the families of those who are accused of spying in the nuclear files.

On Monday, Gheyrat handed in the letter of the attorney that she had prepared with her other colleagues to the interrogator of the branch 14 in the Revolutionary’s Public Prosecutor's Office. She also announced that a few members of the legal team would meet with the prosecutor. The prosecutor has been reported to try to down play the issue and calm the interested by assuring them that Soltani remains in a safe place.

The issue of forced television confessions and connecting Soltani's file to Shirin Ebadi is a product of Kayhan newspaper’s columns. Following Soltani's arrest and charges of espionage, Kayhan newspaper wrote “Shirin Bead’s colleague turned out as a spy". Soltani's legal team has denied the newspaper claim and has announced that Mr. Soltani had two clients who had been accused of revealing intelligence secrets, which remained at the charge level and had not yet been proven in court.

“We have not yet seen the official arrest papers or heard of the exact details of his accusations” Gheyrat said in her interview with Rooz.