By Golnaz Esfandiari,
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi
has said that a human
rights lawyer who fled Iran last month, charging that officials were harassing
him for his vigorous defense of a woman sentenced to death by stoning for
adultery, is accused of "financial fraud."
Mohammad Mostafaei defended Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose case has garnered international
attention and whose
sentence has been indefinitely
"This lawyer had been under prosecution for a long time," Dowlatabadi said,
"that's why he ran away to foreign countries."
In an recent RFE/RL
interview, Mostafaei said he fled
Iran after officials
detained close relatives,
including his wife. Mostafaei told RFE/RL that he had been
questioned over his work -- including his defense of juvenile offenders on death
row -- and a bank account that he says he set up to help pay blood money to
their victims' families.
In an interview today, Mostafaei rejected the accusation by the prosecutor and
said that opening an account for charity purposes is not a crime.
Amnesty International spokesman Drewery Dyke has called the exile of Mostafaei a blow
to human rights in Iran.
In recent years, a number of lawyers defending sensitive cases have come under
pressure by Iranian judicial authorities.
Dowlatabadi on August 10 accused "counterrevolutionary websites" of having
launched a "psychological war" against the Iranian judicial system by publishing
what he described as false news and rumors.
"For example," Dowlatabadi said, "a prisoner was quoted saying that he had been
'dishonored,' but after an investigation the individual said the [allegation]
was not true."
He was apparently referring to the case of jailed journalist Abdolareza Tajik,
who reportedly told his sister that he had been
"dishonored" in prison
in the presence of a deputy prosecutor.
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
... Payvand News - 08/11/10 ... --