The Iranian lawyer of the woman sentenced to stoning has disappeared
Authorities interrogated Mostafaei on Saturday, afterwards they arrested his wife and his brother in law
The Iranian authorities have accused the wife and the brother in law of Mohamed Mostafaei, the lawyer for the woman sentenced to stoning for adultery, of aiding him to flee. Authorities assured them that if the lawyer is handed to them they will be released, as reported on Wednesday by the International Committee Against Execution.
It is not the first time that Mohammad Mostafaei faces the Iranian authorities. The lawyer came into focus as the defender of Sakineh Ashtiani, condemned to death by stoning for alleged adultery, but he has spent years fighting for human rights in Iran. In fact, after the controversial elections of June 2009, he was arrested but was released on bail.
This time, the lawyer has gone too far for the regime of the Ayatollahs. Thanks to the children of Sakineh Mostafaei and the international community, it was revealed that stoning continues at the present within Iranian law. As told to La Razon by the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), Hadi Ghaemi, Mostafaei was under lot of pressure. “First he was interrogated on July 21st, two days later we spoke to him and he said: ‘I have not committed any crime for which they could keep me. My work as a lawyer is to defend the accused, and all processes are done according to law’ he said.”
Interrogation at Evin
Mostafaei was interrogated again the next day. When he came home he received a call; judicial officers of the Evin Prison in Tehran, had more questions to ask. “We do not know what happened next, not even if Mostafaei stepped foot in the prison. The fact is that his wife and his brother in law were arrested hours later” says Ghaemi.
Fereshteh Halimi and her brother Farhad have been in jail since Saturday night. Yesterday they were accused of aiding Mostafaei in fleeing and they were assured that if the lawyer would be handed to the authorities they will be released. “It seems that the Iranian authorities try to silence anyone that speaks against stoning or other issues in which Iran is in clear breach of its international obligations on human rights,” says Malcolm Smart, director of the Middle East Program of Amnesty International.
Ghaemi has tried to contact Mostafaei but it has not possible. The last post on his Facebook profile was “It is likely that I’ll be detained.” “He was not scared, he did his job. He used to update his blog, as a way to communicate with the outside world. However it has been attacked.” confirms Ghaemi, who calls for an international outcry; “they have to be released immediately. It’s so obvious that his family were detained for no reason other than being related to Mostafaei.”
As reported in Amnesty International, harassment is a constant in Iran and it has been for a long time:
– Nasser Zarafshan, a human rights lawyer, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2002.
– In 2005, the lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani was sentenced to five years in prison for “propaganda against the system.” In 2009 he was re-arrested.
– Mohammad Olyaeifard, has been in prison for almost a year for comments he made criticizing the judiciary following the execution of one of its clients who was a minor.