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Detained Iranian Lawyer Charged With Accepting Human Rights Award

A prominent Iranian lawyer who was arrested earlier this month is reported to be facing a new charge of accepting an "unlawful" award for his human rights work.

Abdolfatah Soltani, who has represented a number of well-known Iranian political and human rights activists, was arrested by security forces at his office on September 10.

Soltani is one of the cofounders, along with Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC).

He was charged with founding the center; "spreading propaganda against the regime;" and "assembly and collusion against national security."

A deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, Narges Mohammadi, was jailed this week for 11 years on similar charges.

In an interview with Radio Farda, Soltani's daughter, Maede, said his lawyers have been notified of a new charge against him: "accepting an unlawful award," meaning the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award bestowed on Soltani in 2009.

Maede Soltani said since her father was barred from leaving the country at the time, he could not personally receive the prize.

"My mother [Masoumeh Dehghan] accepted the prize on behalf of my father," Maede Soltani said, "so she was arrested two months ago and spent six days under difficult conditions in solitary confinement."

Maede Soltani added that her mother -- who was later released on bail -- is to appear in court in two months.

Soltani has been detained four times over the past six years.

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