July 2000

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Arrested and imprisoned on June 27

Shirin Ebadi
the woman lawyer who was to represent Mehrangiz Kar

 Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi

Photo X...


Mohsen Rahami,

the lawyer for leading pro-reform newspaper chief


sentenced to a five-year vocational ban in addition to a 15-month suspended prison term by a Tehran court following a closed-door trial.

Two leading Iranian pro-reform lawyers, Shirin Ebadi and Mohsen Rahami, have been detained for their alleged role in publicizing the confessions of a former hard-line vigilante were sentenced Wednesday September 27th to a five-year vocational ban in addition to a 15-month suspended prison term by a Tehran court following a closed-door trial. . The leading defendants in the closed-door trial are cleric and law professor Mohsen Rohami and feminist pro-democracy lawyer Shirin Ebadi.The two lawyers are accused, among others, with "disturbing public opinion" by making and distributing videocassettes of remarks made by a former Islamic militant, Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, against certain members of the regime.

Mohsen Rahami defended Hojjatoleslam Abdollah Nouri, who was imprisoned in November 1999 for five years following an unfair trial in the Special Court for the Clergy, in connection with articles that appeared in the now banned newspaper, Khordad, for which he was managing editor. In the video, a man reportedly speaks of his activities in the vigilante group, Ansar-e Hezbollah. He allegedly implicates senior establishment figures in allegations about the activities of the group, including a failed attempt to murder Hojjatoleslam Abdollah Nouri, former Vice President and Interior Minister.

Because Mr. Ebrahimi's statements suggested the possibility of an assassination plot against a deputy interior minister, Ms. Ebadi sent a copy of the tape to him. The minister, in turn, informed the ministry of information. According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh testified on Tuesday, July 11, confirming to the Tehran judge that Ms. Ebadi had sent the tape over to his office along with a note that warned of an assassination plot against him. "It appears," he said, "that the reason for sending this tape to me was both a humanitarian one to inform of the assassination plot against me, as well as my official capacity as deputy minister of interior. Once I was notified of the sensitive nature of its content, I turned it over to the ministry of information for necessary action."

The two lawyers were arrested separately on Tuesday 27 June 2000. They have been detained on charges of disturbing public opinion in connection with taped remarks against some officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran," the Tehran Justice Department said in a statement picked up by IRNA.

These arrests come on the first anniversary of student demonstrations which followed the closure of a newspaper, Salam. Those demonstrations were followed by widespread disturbances and many hundreds of arrests, along with violations of human rights. Many student groups and thousands of demonstrators reportedly marked the occasion by handing out flowers although disturbances and arrests were reported in Tehran and Tabriz.

Conservative newspapers in Iran have singled out Ms. Ebadi and Mr. Rahami for personal and professional attack during the first week of July. "I am worried because these two lawyers have not, to my knowledge, said anything reprehensible. They are in charge of sensitive cases and this arrest, which is inappropriate, serves to silence the lawyers," said Sadr, who served in the provisional government of Mehdi Bazargan at the beginning of the Islamic republic.

Shirin Ebadi was released on bail on July 29, 2000, after the trial begano in Branch 16 of the Public Court Dadgah-e 'Omomi (Tehran revolutionary court) on July 15.On September 27 th, they were sentenced to a five-year vocational ban in addition to a 15-month suspended prison term by a Tehran court following a closed-door trial.

"It is outrageous that Shirin Ebadi, a woman lawyer investigating the murders of writers and intellectuals in 1998 and 1999, and Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Rahami, the defence lawyer of students injured during the security forces' raid on student dormitories in July 1999, should be accused of breaking the law while carrying out their legitimate work," Amnesty International said "Urgent reform is needed to ensure the true independence of the judiciary, so that human rights defenders are protected while those who have enjoyed impunity are brought to justice."


Both Ms. Ebadi and Mr. Rahami have been active defending pro-reform and pro-human rights activists in recent years.Both have represented various reformist clients or dissidents in high-profile cases. Ms. Ebadi, in particular, is a monitor for Human Rights Watch. She is the author of "History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran." She has been an active advocate for women and children's rights. She has been an advocate for raising the minimum age for marriage for girls, calling the present 9-year minimum: violence against girls. She has represented a number of human rights-related cases, including those of the Foruhars, who were assassinated two years ago.

Shirin Ebadi


Shirin Ebadi, an advocate of women's and other human rights, has defended many victims of human rights violations. A frequent participant in meetings abroad on the condition of woman in Iran, More recently, she was the lawyer for Mehrangiz Kar ( see our " Lawyers in peril " webpage at this name) and Shahla Lahiji , two women detained in April on grounds of harming national interests in connection with statements they made at an academic and cultural conference in Berlin, held in early April. Mehrangiz Kar and Shahla Lahiji were released on bail of approximately US$60,000 in June, after Shirin Ebadi resigned as their lawyer, stating in an interview on 5 June that she was not permitted to be with the women when they were questioned and not permitted to meet with them.

She is also the lawyer for the for the children of Daryush and Parvaneh Faruhar, two secular opponents of the government who were murdered in 1998 and 1999 as part of the "serial murders"of writers and intellectuals.. Government intelligence agents were later implicated in the killing.

In this connection, she is a member of Komite-ye Defa' az Hoquq-e Qorbanian-e Qatle-ha-ye Zanjire'i (Committee for the Defense of Rights of the Victims of the Serial Murders). She, along with Mohsen Rahami are the lawyers for the family of a man who was killed by the security forces' raid on the students' dormitory.

 Mohsen Rahami


Mohsen Rahami, a former member of parliament and law professor at Tehran University, was the lawyer for leading pro-reform newspaper chief and former interior minister Abdollah Nuri, who was jailed last year by a special clerical court. Rahami was also defended the students who were injured during the security forces' July 1999 raid on the dormitory. Earlier this week the officials accused of causing the injuries and associated damages were acquitted. The court, however, recognised that the rights of the students were violated and they were awarded financial compensation. As a trained cleric Mohsen Rahami has been detained under provisions of the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC).


1)Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Telegrams: Ayatollah Khamenei, Tehran, Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Telegrams: President Khatami, Tehran, Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

3)Head of Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahrudi
Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Telegrams: Head of Judiciary, Tehran, Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency


Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Kamal Kharrazi
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far
Secretary, Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 13165-137, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Faxes: + 98 21 204 0541

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country

It would also be helpful to forward a copy of your correspondence to
Mrs Mary Robinson
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
CH 1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: (41) 22-917-9000

(Source : AFP and Amnesty International AI Index MDE 13/019/2000


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