Democratic Republic of Iran جمهوری دموکراتیک ایران

The Only Way Forward

نامه محمد مصطفايي به خامنه اي پيرامون پخش برنامه هشت و سي دقيقه تلوزيون /Open Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei

پارسى

Your Excellency Ayatollah Khamenei, The leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

My salutations,

This is the first time I am writing a letter addressed to you; it will also be the last time I am addressing you, because I believe you do not possess the merits to lead a democratic country and system. You know very well that you took the helm of leadership through deception, lies, hypocrisy, and duplicity, and have attained the title of “ayatollah” through recommendation and expediency, and have become undeservedly the leader of Iran after the death of Imam Khomeini. In any case, fate was such that you are leading a country that eight million of its people are living among the diaspora and are unable to return to their homeland as a result of your incompetence and establishment of a non-democratic dictatorial system. I hope you will read this letter written by a son of this land, or at least [I hope] it is passed on to you after your “anonymous agents” have read it.

Mr. Khamenei,

I was seven years old when I stepped foot in a society that its inception was marked by the rule of Khomeini and people like you and your powerful gang. I began to work at the age of seven as a result of poverty. My parents were also working hard. I had to knock on every door to buy warm clothes for the winters. I will never forget the days I would knock on any door in Tehran to make a miser earning and ask any decent and indecent person for help. I will never forget the slaps I received and had to endure [to obtain] a piece of bread. I will never forget the days where I had to work and suffer with my parents until 2:00am. I will never forget the blisters and swellings on my hands as a result of the harmful and dangerous work I was engaged in; including working at the hot furnace used for making ceramics. I will not forget how I had to swallow my words and suffer in silence while being beaten and slapped by my teacher for not doing my homework because I had no time to study.

I will not forget that during my childhood I was very envious of [the kids] who had bicycles. I will not forget the sadness of not being able to play with kids my age and the hours I spent crying [as a result]. I will never forget my mother who endured a lot of pain and suffered many long years.

The pain and tragedies my mother and I suffered resulted in my decision to change the course of my life. I made the decision to study law after I finished my military service. Since you were after stuffing your pockets with the revenue coming in from the oil and other industries, people like me were deprived of our social rights. Since I had to work during my childhood I was one of the most unsuccessful students during my elementary years all the way through my secondary studies. After working hard day and night, I succeeded in obtaining admission to the Law program at the Faculty of Law and Humanities in the University of Tehran. Finally, after years of studying I was able to become a lawyer—a lawyer who vowed to be a defender of the weak and the oppressed.

Mr. Khamenei,

I briefly described my life so that you would not think it was easy for me to obtain the job I loved so much. I suffered for 30 years under the reign of you and incompetent people like you. I worked hard to finally establish a proper social status for myself. I am proud to be the defender of those whose rights have been violated, and I was working tirelessly to restore their rights. The majority of the people who came to my office were people whose rights were violated by the uncontentious judges of the violent and savage judiciary system. These were judges who knew nothing but how to commit violence and impose inhumane punishments such as stoning, execution, long-term prison sentences, etc.

Mr. Khamenei,

When I was a child I witnessed my own suffering, pain, and misery, and when I became a lawyer I bore witness to the pain and the sobs of those who would enter my office. Every day a crying mother would come to see me for help or a father would plea to me to save his child’s life. Since I had experienced pain and suffering, I also felt their pain that was the result of the injustice and oppression you and your agents brought upon them.

Mr. Khamenei,

I compromised my personal and family life during my work as a lawyer. I worked day and night. I would not see my daughter so I could save the lives of those who were taken as prisoners by your scoundrel cronies. My wife, out of respect for my ideals, tolerated all this. I was able to, thanks to God, save the lives of 50 people, and secure the freedom of numerous innocent people who were imprisoned.

Mr. Khamenei,

Since seven years ago, whenever I heard someone’s rights were being violated, I would represent them. I would travel to various prisons in the country to seek justice for a victim. I would cry out that children [and those who committed an offence while] under the age of 18 should not be executed. I would cry out that stoning is a barbaric act, and amputation of the hands and legs, lashings, arbitrary arrests, and the unlawful detention of individuals is harmful to the so-called Islamic republic. I would knock on any door to save the lives of the children [on death row]. I would use my own personal income along with contributions from generous and benevolent Iranians and foreigners to pay the blood money that saved the lives of people who did not deserve to be executed and to secure the release of people who had been arbitrarily imprisoned for years.

I will never forget Fatemeh, the Afghan woman who was in jail for two years. If I had not picked up her case, she would remain in jail, and perhaps would have been executed by now. I will never forget how I secured the freedom of the transsexual prisoner who was held in solitary confinement for months, and was being raped every day by the prison guards. I will not forget the woman whose cruel husband had thrown acid on her face and fled. There was nobody to help her, but I was able to provide her with welfare and medical attention. I will not forget Hedieh, the 14 year old girl who was jailed in Evin on the charge of [engaging in an] “illegitimate relationship”. After some time she was exiled to Rajai Shahr prison and held among the dangerous prisoners. She was eventually murdered by one of her cell mates. I will not forget Rahim, the young citizen of Tabriz whose wife your government agents fancied and thus had him unjustly executed, and sentenced his wife to stoning. I will not forget my pleas to save the life of Behnoud Shojaee, who was jailed since the age of 17, and whom your executioners hanged before my eyes. I will not forget the sad memory of my clients who had been tortured by the police and Intelligence officials.

Mr. Khamenei,

I took on the cases of hundreds of individuals who had sought help after their rights were violated by your security and judicial institutions and with the permission of you and your cronies like Janati, the Larijani brothers, and Ahmadinejad.

Due to my opposition to the sentence of stoning, I would take on all the stoning cases that were brought to my attention. I found it important that a helpless person had been sentenced to stoning and the butchers of the judiciary were thirsty for his or her blood. But where are you dear Mr. Khamenei to see what crimes and atrocities are being committed in the judiciary and the Islamic republic prisons, in particular in the security “Guantanamo” ward 209 in Evin prison?  We both know very well that you are the main culprit behind all these crimes. It is you who has closed your eyes as you issue any order to protect your power.

Mr. Khamenei,

I did not give in to the threats I received from the judiciary and security systems, [no matter] how many times I was interrogated, because it is not important to me. I had accepted that I would deal with the difficulties [in the course I had chosen]. Last year, out of duty, I took on the case of Sakineh Mohammadi who was jailed in Tabriz prison on the charge of adultery while married, an offence she had not committed. The news of her imprisonment was passed on to me by one of my clients who was also jailed in Tabriz prison. The preparations for execution of the stoning sentence were underway, and my efforts [to stop the sentence] were not bearing any results; all the doors I went toward were closed. I had no choice but to inform domestic and international journalists so Islamic republic authorities who were turning a deaf ear to the pleas of my innocent client would hear her voice.

After the news was spread, many politicians voiced their support, however, I have never wanted to take advantage of a case. [The] case of Sakineh Mohammadi] has turned into a sensitive international [matter].

Subsequently, I was summoned and interrogated for four hours in court. On that day, I did not think I would be released, but by God’s grace the magistrate of branch 2 of the Evin prison court let me go. Several hours later I went to my office and found out that security agents had raided my office, but left after realizing I was not there. However, numerous agents were waiting to ambush me outside. It seems they were blind and did not see me entering my office. In a few hours, I found out that they took my wife hostage and stated that until I turn myself in they would release her. That is why I decided not to succumb to the illegal requests of the judicial-security authorities. After a few days, I had no choice but to leave Iran, and that is how my wife was released from the hands of your security agents. After leaving Iran through the Iran-Turkey border, I turned myself in to the Turkish police. The news of my detention was published in a Turkish newspaper. A team of Intelligence and foreign affairs officials came to Turkey from Iran to negotiate my extradition to Iran. Nevertheless, the support of European and American governments saved me from falling into the hands of your agents.

Mr. Khamenei,

Your “crusader soldiers” feel furious and stung that they were not able to get their hands on me and arrest me even after taking my wife hostage. They were not able to catch me and extract confessions under torture as they did from Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, Sakineh’s son, and Houtan Kian, Sakineh’s other lawyer, and use it as propaganda. I was not caught by your soldiers so I [would be able to] spread the voices of the oppressed women and children in jail and tell the world about the crimes you have committed against humanity.

Mr. Khamenei,

Even if I had fallen into the hands of your agents, I would not have been afraid. My blood is not more red than the thousands of prisoners who were arbitrarily and summarily executed in 80′s and 90′s. My blood is not more red than the numerous adolescents, youth, men and women who were attacked and killed by your agents on the streets of Tehran. I am no different than the political prisoners who are deprived of their right to visit their families and children. My blood is not redder than Sohrab’s or Neda’s and those killed in Kahrizak detention centre.

Mr. Khamenei,

After your agents were unable to arrest me, they resorted to character assassination. One day they called me a fraud, the next a fugitive lawyer. On Monday, on the TV program 8:30, they called me a “mercenary of the West”, and accused me of ties with the Labour Communist Party. Meanwhile, they kept asking me through different channels including the Iranian Embassy in Norway, to return to Iran so that they could carry out their malicious plans.

Mr. Khamenei,

I have stated repeatedly that I have no ties to any group, and I am an independent lawyer. Even if I was cooperating with a group, that would not be an offence. All those who live outside Iran, whether they are communists, PMOI members, Toudeh partisans, etc. are victims of the crimes you and those like you have committed. They are trying to restore their rights. Fortunately, the majority of them today are defenders of human rights, while you are a human rights violator.

Mr. Khamenei,

I am certain that you will not reach anywhere through torturing, forcing, imprisoning, and coercing individuals, suppressing those who protest your wrong policies, and broadcasting deceitful and false programs and reports on TV. I advise you to stop committing crimes in the name of Islam. Stop enslaving and discriminating against women, executing and stoning, and stop hostage takings in the name of Islam. I recommend that instead of extracting confessions under torture, consider abolishing inhuman punishments from the law. Then again, you and your agents, some of whom are anonymous and some are known, do not deserve to rule and govern anyway.

(English text revised and edited by Persian2English)

Advertisements

Filed under: iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran,

پيوستن همسر و دختر محمد مصطفايي به وي در نروژ

Filed under: iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Iranian human rights lawyer arrives in Norway, while his wife in Iran is set free

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.

Filed under: Evin prison, iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei interviewed in Turkey

Filed under: iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Lawyer Who Fled Iran Insists: ‘I Had The Right To Defend Sakineh Mohammadi’

August 5, 2010 – “I was the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and I had the right to defend her,” Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei says of the case that has drawn international attention. Mostafaei was defending Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery when Iranian officials jailed his wife, her brother, and his father-in-law in an apparent attempt to pressure him to back down. 

In his first interview after fleeing Iran and surfacing in Turkey, Mostafaei talked to RFE/RL’s Golnaz Esfandiari, condemning the Iranian judiciary for taking his wife “hostage” and vowing that he will never surrender to Iranian authorities. He also talked about the circumstances under which he was forced to escape Iran and leave his family, including his 7-year-old daughter, behind. (Mostafaei was reportedly taken into custody by Turkish authorities and the UN’s refugee agency has said he should be allowed to apply for asylum.)


RFE/RL: What were the conditions that forced you to leave Iran and how did you end up in Turkey?

Mohammad Mostafaei: On July 24, I was summoned to the prosecutor’s bureau of Shahid Moghdas, which is at Evin prison. I went there at 9 a.m. and I was questioned for some three hours about my work. He finally told me, “You’re free to go.” I left Evin and called my wife from somebody else’s phone — since I didn’t have a phone with me — and told her that my problem was solved and I was out. I had several meetings later, so at 5 p.m. I went to my office. I was told that several people had [already] come to arrest me. I talked to my wife, who said someone had called from the prosecutor’s office and said that I had to go [to that office] or I would be arrested. It was [very serious] for me to hear that they wanted to arrest me. I waited in my office but no one came. Later, my father-in-law told me that police had arrested my wife, Fereshteh, and her brother, Farhad Halimi. When I heard that, I became determined not to give myself in and told myself that I will bear whatever will come.

After several days [officials] made it clear that they were holding my wife and [her brother] as hostages and that, until I gave myself in, they wouldn’t let them go. I decided to leave Iran, and since I knew that I would be prevented from doing so, I crossed the border into Turkey and made it to the city of Van. There, I got in touch with human rights groups, who informed the Turkish Interior Ministry. I then went to Istanbul where the police [got in touch with] me and I went to the police station. Since then I’ve been in Istanbul and I’m waiting for the Turkish government to allow me to leave Turkey for another country.
RFE/RL: Have you applied for asylum?
Mostafaei:  Not until [August 3] because I have my passport, which is valid, and also a visa for Schengen countries. In fact, [officials] from the Embassy of Norway came here and said they’re ready to accept me as a citizen of Norway and they even started working on needed documents. But today I was forced to apply for asylum  at the UN. I filled in some forms UN officials had brought and so now this process is due to be completed.
 
RFE/RL: It must have been a very difficult decision for you to leave Iran while your wife is still in jail and your daughter remains in Tehran with your family?

Mostafaei: I truly didn’t believe that there would be people in Iran’s judiciary  who know nothing about humanity. I never thought that there would be so much lawlessness in our judiciary. I never thought that they would keep my wife in jail close to two weeks over a sin she hasn’t committed. She didn’t have anything to do with my work. They’ve jailed her because of me. I’m never going to give myself in until our judiciary changes from the way it is now. I’m not afraid of any trial because I haven’t done anything wrong. I’ve been only helping others.
RFE/RL: Did the officials tell your family or yourself why they want to arrest you ? Did they bring any charges against you when you were interrogated?


Mostafaei:
My interrogation was focused on my work: why do I help [juvenile offenders]? Why do I work as a lawyer for free? And why did I set up [a] bank account to save their lives and pay the blood money of the victims? They didn’t charge [me] with [anything] and I really don’t know why an arrest warrant has been issued for me.


RFE/RL:  Some of your colleagues we talked to told us they believe that the judiciary put pressure on you because of your defense of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning, and the attention her case received internationally. Do you think that’s the reason for what happened to your family?

Mostafaei: I was Sakineh Mohammadi’s lawyer and I had the right to defend her. A lawyer should do all he [or she] can to save of his [or her] client from unjust punishments. It was my duty to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi and because the judiciary didn’t help save her from being stoned, I made sure her cry of help was heard by the world so that the judiciary would come under pressure and she would escape stoning.
RFE/RL: You’ve also been representing a number of child offenders who are on death row in the Islamic Republic of Iran over crimes they committed when they were younger than 18. What is going to happen to your clients now that you’ve been forced to flee the country?
Mostafaei: I’ve represented the cases of 40 juvenile offenders in the past several years. I was able to save 18 of them [from execution]. Unfortunately, four of them were executed. The cases of the others are currently being reviewed. Some of them are facing the threat of execution and I really don’t know what to do now that I’m not there to defend them. I’m confident that if I receive independent international support, I will be able — even from outside the country — to defend their rights and prevent them from getting hurt.


RFE/RL: How is your situation going to affect the work of other lawyers inside Iran who are working on cases that are considered sensitive?

Mostafaei: Unfortunately, one of the goals of the judiciary, by pressuring  lawyers and families, is to threaten others and prevent them from doing their job properly.

RFE/RL: Your father-in-law and brother-in-law were released after their detention, which you believe was aimed at putting pressure on you. Your wife remains in jail. What is the latest news you have about her? Is it likely  that she will also be released soon?
Mostafaei: I don’t think it is likely that the judiciary will keep her [for very long]. If they do, that would be a scandal and disgrace for the judicial system [as well as] a political  scandal. Why is someone being taken as a hostage? I don’t think that’s worthy of the judiciary and it’s definitely not Islamic. A Muslim would not do such thing. I would like to use this occasion to call on the judiciary officials to end the illegal continued detention of my wife and release her as soon as possible. I will never give myself in unless the Turkish government decides to deport me.
RFE/RL: Is that possible? Has someone mentioned it to you?

Mostafaei: I don’t know, but because of international diplomatic issues and political games, we see this kind of thing all over the world. So it is possible that it might happen. But so far, I haven’t been told anything and they’ve promised me that it will not happen.

Filed under: iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei seeks political asylum in Turkey

August 4, 2010 – Mohammad Mostafai seeks political asylum in Turkey, according to U.N. high commissioner

U.N. high commissioner in Turkey has announced that Mr. Mohammad Mostafai, judicial lawyer who had previously announced that he would not appear at the judicial center in Iran following the arrest of his family members, has asked for political asylum in Turkey.

Matin Churab Atr, the spokesperson for U.N. high commission in Turkey speaking with Radio Farda has announced that on Wednesday August 4, 21010 a person by the name of Mohammad Mostafai has asked for refugee status in Turkey.

Also according to Associated Press, the U.N. high commissioner in Turkey has announced that they are investigating Mr. Mostafai’s case and the doors are open for him to seek political asylum.

This news agency quoting a paper in Turkey writes that after entering Turkey, Mr. Mostafai was arrested due to some irregularities in his passport.

Mohammad Mostafai, judicial lawyer and human rights activist, was summoned to Evin prison last Saturday for some explanations and left the prison on his own after being interrogated. But after he left, prison official contacted him a second time and summoned him again.

When he did not appear at the prison the second time, security agents arrested his wife and brother on charges of hiding and abetting Mr. Mostafai and announced that they would only be released on the condition of Mr. Mostafai appearing at Evin prison.

Following this arrest, Mr. Mostafai wrote an open letter to Abbas Jafari-DolatAbadi, Tehran prosecutor and asked the judiciary to end what he referred to as ‘hostage taking’.

In this letter he wrote that after he heard the news about the arrest of his loved ones, he was compelled to appear at Evin prison but he “could not stand the lawlessness and violations of basic human rights” and therefore decided not to appear.

Mohammad Mostafai was the lawyer for many cases where the accused were sentenced to executions or stoning including cases for Behnoud Shojai and Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani which were followed by an international campaign.

Freedom Messenger

Filed under: Evin prison, iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Mohammad Mostafaei’s letter to his wife and daughter

Freedom Messenger – Mohammad Mostafaei, the prominent human rights lawyer who is currently pursued by the authorities and expected to end up in prison in a  fate  similar to that of  his brave colleague Mohammad Oliaye-Far, on the day of his daughter’s birthday wrote the following letter to Parmida and her mother Fereshteh whose birthday is also coming up.

Dear Fereshteh and darling Parmida,

Happy Birthday to both of you…

Seven years ago today, 10th of Mordad (Aug 1), my dear Parmida was born to a sweet mother who is in prison today for no crime of her own. Parmida is very lonely today. Neither mom nor dad are with her to wish her a happy birthday. We were planning to have a birthday party for her, with all her friends invited … we were planning to tell her how much we love her and wish her a happy birthday … but what happened? Her mother, unjustly and totally without legal grounds, got arrested and taken as a hostage. And worse yet, her uncle and grandfather too were arrested. My Parmida is so lonely today. What has she done to deserve the sorrow of missing both her parents? She has not seen her mother in one week– a mother who has spent nearly all her time and energy focusing on taking care of her child,  taking her to music lessons, to exercise, to English class. Today Parmida cannot hear her mother calling out her name, or her father wishing her a happy birthday.

Is this the justice of a country’s judiciary who claims to be a pillar of Islam, to break up a family like this? Taking a mother away from her child and unjustly sending her to prison? I ask you, would you accept this happening to you? I wish you would at least consider her release for one day to wish her only child a happy birthday. It’s been one week and Fereshteh has only been allowed to speak with her own mother once and has not given any information about her condition or her surroundings. Is this what you call humanity? Who would accept such  treatment for a mother?

Get over yourselves; call forth your conscience. Do not let the curse of a mother follow you, don’t torment a young child by keeping her away from her mother. Please don’t let my little girl suffer as she does, in the void left by the absence of her mother and father. You are depriving Parmida from the nurturing of her mother that she so needs. Please, let this mother take her child to her bosom. I swear, in the seven years of Parmida’s life her mother has never taken her eyes off of her. She has dedicated herself completely to her child’s best possible upbringing. She has never for a moment neglected or hesitated to love her child, but today you are depriving this child of that love, by keeping her innocent mother in jail. I swear to God that unjustly separating a mother from her child, in order to trap another person, is an unforgivable sin. If you are not afraid of justice in this world, be very afraid of the Judgment Day! Free Parmida’s mother!

I have said before and say again that she is innocent. I emphasize that Fereshteh Halimi and her brother have no information about my whereabouts or about the 2nd of Khordad. It is only too clear that they have been taken as hostages…

My darling Parmida,

Every time I look at the beautiful drawing that you made for me, I cry! I can’t wait to see you. I want to see you soon and take you to the playground in the park. Happy Birthday and I wish you all the best. I promise you that all the doors are open for you and that you will have the brightest of futures. I kiss you and your dear mom, both. May God be with you both. Mom’s birthday is coming up in 3 days. I wish her a happy birthday, too. Your mother has tolerated my absence for the last 10 years so that I could help the innocent, the needy and all those unjustly sentenced to death by execution, hanging or stoning. I ask you, too, to please tolerate our absence today…

My dearest Fereshteh and Parmida, I wish you a happy birthday and kiss you both…

Translation by Azita Eraani

Filed under: Evin prison, iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, Mohammad Mostafaei, revolution, ایران iran

Our perserverance is our sword, Our unity is our shield, AZADI… is our destiny!

Brave Women Of Iran

A special note we would like to share with the brave and beautiful women of Iran; You have shown extraordinary courage, passion, pride, humility and humanity in the face of great injustice. The world has taken notice and we are all humbled by your strength and determination. If you are the future, then we all are comforted by how bright it will shine.

The One Who Wishes To Move A Mountain, Must Start By Removing Stones

share this blog

Share |

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16 other followers