Mohammad Mostafaee’s Family Members — The Judiciary’s Hostages
Fereshteh Halimi, the wife of Mohammad Mostafaee, an Iranian human rights lawyer, was arrested yesterday near his office according to a colleague of Mostafaee’s. She had gone to pick up her husband’s car which was parked near his office. The Committee for Human Rights Reporters’ website also reported the arrest of Farhad Halimi, Mostafaee’s brother-in-law, who was with his wife at the time. Last week, Mostafaee told the Campaign that he had been summoned to the Security Branch of Evin Prison Court, and that he would report to the Prosecutor on Saturday. At this time, it is still unclear whether he was arrested or not. The Committee for Human Rights Reporters’ website also reported that Mostafaee appeared before the prosecutor and was interrogated for four hours. Forces went to his office to arrest him later that day, according to the same report.
The Campaign does not have specific information about why the wife of this human rights lawyer was arrested. But given that his wife was not involved with her spouse’s activities, such an arrest could cause mental and psychological anguish for Mostafaee. Previously, there has been a history of arrests or threats to arrest family members in many political cases.
Mohammad Mostafaee routinely wrote in his blogs about the legal and judicial processes of the human rights cases he was handling. Last week, he was summoned to the Evin Prison Court, a security court. During one of his last interviews with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Mostafaee said he was unaware of any reasons for the summons. He speculated that he might have been summoned because of his concern over the case of Sakineh Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence was suspended a few weeks ago. Mostafaee emphasized during the interview that he had never acted above the law.
When asked whether he might be arrested, he replied with doubt, “I have not committed any crime for which they would want to keep me. My work as a lawyer is defending the accused, and all the processes are done according to the law. There isn’t any part that is outside the law. I respect the law and always have respect for the judicial system. I have a professional outlook towards my work and therefore there is no reason for my arrest. However, a potential always exists.”
Mostafaee also told the Campaign that his work in the past few years has been to improve the image that the world has about the legal situation in Iran. He said he believes that the more leeway lawyers have to defend their clients, the more it would influence the effectiveness of the judiciary, and such a relationship could indicate a positive atmosphere in the country, and thus the negative propaganda against the country would be reduced.