The National Lawyers Guild expresses its grave concern for the well-being of the family of Attorney Mohammed Mostafee-his spouse, Ms. Fereshteh Halimi and her brother, Mr. Farhad Halimi-and calls for their immediate release. Mr. Mostafaee, the attorney representing Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43 year-old mother of two who has been sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of adultery, was questioned for four hours on July 24, 2010, at the Evin prison. That same day, Ms. Halimi and her brother were arrested for allegedly assisting Mr. Mostafaee to avoid arrest. Mr. Mostafaee has since fled to Turkey seeking asylum.
The Iranian government’s harassment of Mr. Mostafaee’s family and targeting of Mr. Mostafaee represents an ongoing crackdown on Iranian human rights advocates and lawyers. On February 26, 2010, the Iranian Supreme Judicial Disciplinary Court barred 36 lawyers, including prominent human rights lawyers, from the practice of law. The lawyers barred from practice include the current president and previous president of the Judicial Bar Association, Sayed Mohammed Jandoghi Kermanipour and Godarz Eftehkhareh, respectively, as well as lawyers who have been active in defending political prisoners and women’s rights activists who were targeted after the June 2009 elections.
The Iranian government continues to ban Iranian lawyers from travel and subjects them to arrest, detainment, prosecution, and torture as part of an ongoing post-election crackdown on dissidents and civil society groups, and has targeted such lawyers as Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Shadi Sadr, and Abdolfattah Soltani. In addition, Iranian judicial authorities routinely prevent lawyers from meeting with political prisoners, prohibit lawyers’ access to needed court documents, and thwart their efforts to make statements during trials.
“The National Lawyers Guild is deeply concerned that Iranian authorities are persecuting lawyers for no other cause than for defending their clients through the legitimate practice of law,” said Nancy Hormachea, Co-Chair of the National Lawyers Guild Iran Subcommittee “The National Lawyers Guild calls upon Iranian authorities to end to all harassment against human rights defenders and to comply with international human rights standards and instruments ratified by Iran,” continued Hormachea.
The National Lawyers Guild does not advocate military aggression or sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.