The Norway Post – The Iranian human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei has arrived in Norway, and has applied for political asylum. He fled from Iran after the authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
His wife was first arrested, but has now been released, and Mostafaei now hopes that she and their seven-year-old daughter will join him in Norway.
“I am very pleased that human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei is now safe in Norway,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. However, he underlines that Norwegian authorities have had nothing to do with his flight from Iran.
“Ever since the Norwegian authorities learned that Mr Mostafaei had fled to Turkey, Norway has, like a number of other countries, been concerned that he should be given protection and not returned to Iran. I would like to commend Turkey and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the part they played in bringing Mr Mostafaei to safety,” said Mr Støre.
Norway has repeatedly expressed concern about the human rights situation in Iran, and has in particular taken up specific cases involving juveniles facing the death penalty and the use of inhumane means of punishment. Mr Mostafaei has fearlessly served as defence lawyer in a number of these cases.
Mostafaei last defended an Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The woman’s sentence was later commuted to hanging after an international outcry.
“It is regrettable that the pressure on courageous defence lawyers such as Mr Mostafaei is so great that they are compelled to flee. They are doing an extremely important job in Iran. Norway is committed to supporting human rights defenders in Iran and will continue to do so. We call on Iran to respect human rights and fulfil its international obligations,” said Mr Støre.
Also, the wife of Mohammad Mostafaei has been released from prison in Iran. She was arrested on July 24, along with his brother-in-law, and later his father. The father and brother-in-law were released several days ago, but his wife was still being held hostage by the regime in an apparent attempt to pressure Mostafaei to back down.
Mostafaei wrote on his Facebook page on August 7 about the release of his wife, Fereshteh Halimi;
“My wife was released today. I congratulate her on her freedom; she had been taken hostage because of me. I called her today and we had nothing to say to each other besides crying,” Mostafei wrote.