Lawyer, Blacklisted for Past Two Years, Interrogated Again
Intelligence Ministry forces interrogated lawyer Massoud Shafiee again 20 days ago, a source close to him told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The source, who requested anonymity, told the Campaign that during the recent interrogation, Massoud Shafiee was told that he could soon receive his confiscated passport, but this has not happened yet.
Massoud Shafiee represented the three American Hikers—Sara Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer—who were released to return to the US in September 2011. Their lawyer, however, was interrogated by Intelligence Ministry forces a few days after their release. Intelligence forces entered his home on September 27, 2011, searched the premises, and transferred him to Evin Prison, where he was interrogated for several hours. The following week, his passport was confiscated at Imam Khomeini Airport, and he received a travel ban. He has been interrogated multiple times since 2011.
Massoud Shafiee has represented several cases of political and labor activists, such as the Alaei brothers, Kian Tajbakhsh, Rassoul Bodaghi, and Reza Shahabi.
“He was summoned to the Intelligence Office about 20 days ago, and he was interrogated from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. They told him that he is not allowed to give interviews. They promised to return his confiscated passport to him in a few days, but 20 days later, nothing has happened yet. Mr. Shafiee has said that if his illegally-confiscated passport is not returned to him in a few days, he will speak up and tell everything despite the interview ban,” the source told the Campaign.
The source told the Campaign that Massoud Shafiee has not been able to do any work for the past two years. “He hasn’t been officially informed that he can’t work, because he has not committed any crimes from a legal viewpoint, enabling them to take away his license to practice law. But when his previous clients are afraid of going to see him and choose other lawyers, when his colleagues and trainees are afraid of being in touch with him, lest they might be labeled, too, when even his secretary doesn’t show up to work, when judges bar new clients from choosing Mr. Shafiee, in effect there is no room for him to work. He has been blacklisted for about two years. Nobody has gone to his offices because they are either afraid or have been barred from doing so, and he has even refunded his previous clients’ retainers. He says himself that he wishes he was still in prison, that at least this way his situation would be clear,” said the source.
The source told the Campaign that the Iranian Bar Association does not have the courage to pursue the case of one of his members. “Mr. Shafiee took copies of all the letters he had written to the Intelligence Ministry and to Branch 6 of the Investigative Court, and asked them for support and follow up. But the Bar Association told him officially that they can’t do anything. They can only forward his letters to the Prosecutor’s Office. Mr. Shafiee asked them, ‘So, you want to re-send letters that I have already sent them?'” said the source.
Massoud Shafiee told the Campaign last year that even his bedroom has been bugged and that all his comings and goings are being monitored. Shafiee said that judicial authorities told the family of Iranian-American prisoner Amir Hekmati that they could not choose him as their lawyer. “Mr. Hekmati’s sister told me that the case judge said I cannot accept any cases. What authorization does he have to do such a thing?”