Iran accuses human rights lawyer of spying    Mon. 15 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 15 – Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi announced on Monday that a human rights lawyer who had been representing the family of a slain Canadian-Iranian photojournalist was a spy and that the Revolutionary Court had issued a decree stating that it was lawful for him to be imprisoned until his eventual trial.

Judiciary agents and armed police had raided the residence of Abdolfattah Soltani and he was subsequently arrested and taken to
Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison several weeks ago on the orders of Prosecutor-General Saeed Mortazavi.

Soltani’s arrest was carried out with the announcement of the charge and a report by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the ministry’s counter-espionage division. Adequate reasons and documents were given [for the charge] that secret and classified national intelligence was leaked to unqualified people and those connected to foreign embassies”, Mortazavi told reporters.

“Yesterday, I was informed that the
Revolutionary Court had issued a verdict and approved his temporary detention and rejected Soltani’s complaint”, he said.

Soltani, being a lawyer and familiar with the law, has not been willing to answer some 65 or 66 questions by the Ministry of Intelligence regarding his actions and the materials he had. All these questions have been reported as without the defendant’s answer and have been sent to the public prosecutor’s office”.

Earlier this month, the government-owned daily Kayhan said that Soltani had been charged with giving away
Iran’s nuclear secrets. “Abdolfattah Soltani’s most serious charge is that he was a nuclear spy”, Kayhan wrote in a front page article.

Soltani was one of the lawyers for the family of slain Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was murdered in Evin Prison in July 2003. There have been suggestions that Prosecutor Mortazavi was Kazemi’s killer and during one of the hearings in the case, Soltani clearly pointed the finger at him for the murder.

Kayhan said that Soltani had used his position as a lawyer to obtain information from clients who were being tried on cases related to national security. He would then hand over the information to “hostile opposition groups to expose such highly secret information”, Kayhan, which has close ties to the country’s security and intelligence services, wrote.

Soltani has committed treason”, the article added.