Three Americans to call home and have meetings with attorney
Massoud Shafiee, attorney of three Americans who crossed the Iranian border by accident and were arrested six months ago told the International Campaign for Human Rights that during a meeting he had with authorities in charge of the three Americans’ case, he was promised a chance to meet with them over the coming days. Authorities in charge of the case have also said that over the next 72 hours the three individuals will be permitted to call home. During the past six months, the detainees have been denied the right to call their families. Since families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Joshua Fattal appointed Massoud Shafiee as their attorney, Shafiee has not been able to meet his clients despite written agreement of theProsecutor.
Reacting to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement on Tuesday, referring to a possible swap of the three American prisoners with Iranians in prison in the US, he said: “His statement was very disappointing. The Iranian Judiciary is independent and this is why the families have hired a lawyer. We are trying to solve the problem through legal procedures. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement was in contradiction to this premise and created doubts that as head of Executive Branch, he is making a decision for the Judiciary. Such statements do not help reach a solution to the problem.”
Shafiee added: “If these individuals have committed a crime, such as illegal but unintentional border crossing, they must be tried in a fair and just court of law and if there is no evidence against them and they are innocent, they should be released as soon as possible. I have not been able to meet my clients so far, despite my serious efforts to do so. I do not wish to say that this case’s fate is being determined outside of the Judiciary, because as their lawyer I will do my best to defend my clients’ rights. I hope the authorities would consider all aspects of this situation and as they act on humanitarian grounds to allow the individuals to contact their families, to also accelerate the review pace of this case.
Replying to the question of whether he has informed the families that they may be receiving phone calls he said: “Since I have been faced with promises which were never delivered over the past few weeks, even though I am very optimistic, I haven’t informed the families, because if the prisoners are not allowed to contact their families, the families will suffer a big emotional blow. It is highly likely, however, that contacts will be made by Friday.”