Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in the June 12 elections in Iran, there have been widespread protests against the contested election results. The Iranian authorities have responded with violence and repression, killing at least 17 people and arresting hundreds of journalists, students, opposition politicians and human rights activists.
Among those arrested is prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, a member of the Center for Defense of Human Rights and a close associate of Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. He was arrested on June 16 and has been held in incommunicado detention at an unknown location since then.
Amnesty International is concerned that those detained may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It considers Abdolfattah Soltani to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. Abdolfattah Soltani had been detained previously for his human rights advocacy and representation of prominent prisoner of conscience Akbar Ganji and of the family of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian journalist who died after being severely tortured in Evin Prison in Tehran.
I am also concerned that hundreds of other people -- including at least 23 journalists, as well as students, political opposition figures, and human rights activists -- have been detained by authorities since 12 June. I am worried that those detained may be subjected to torture or ill-treatment while in detention.
I urge you to insure that Abdolfattah is treated humanely in detention, that his whereabouts be made known, and that he be granted access to his family and to his lawyers. He is a prisoner of conscience and I also urge that he be immediately and unconditionally released. I finally urge that those detained for peacefully expressing their opposition to the election results be released.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.