Iran detains five lawyers on security charges

14 Nov 2010

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Five lawyers have been arrested in Iran for security-related offences, Fars news agency said on Sunday, the latest in a series of arrests of human rights’ activists since last year’s disputed presidential election.

Tehran general prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said three of the lawyers were arrested when they returned from a trip to Turkey, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. “Two other lawyers related to the three were also detained in Iran,” the prosecutor told Fars.

“They have been detained for committing security-related offences and violating the Islamic Republic’s moral standards outside Iran,” he said, without elaborating on the charges.

Sara Sabaghian, Maryam Kian-Ersi and Maryam Karbasi were arrested at Tehran’s International Imam Khomeini Airport on Saturday, the Sharq newspaper reported. Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi’s website said the “whereabouts of the three women lawyers are unknown.”

“The three were arrested by security forces … Sabaghian is a member of a committee for defending rights of women and children. She was once detained on July 8,” the opposition website Kaleme reported, without giving a source.
Sabaghian also represented Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki, a blogger, who is serving a 15-year jail term and was detained after the presidential election, which the opposition says was rigged to secure president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

The Kaleme website said Maryam Kian-Ersi defended “a woman who had been sentenced to stoning to death for adultery a few years ago.”

Analysts say such arrests are part of an intensified clampdown on activists, dissidents, journalists and lawyers to uproot the opposition. The authorities deny they jail critics. “All of our opponents and their leaders are free. We do not have any imprisoned critics or opponents,” Ahmadinejad said in September while visiting the United Nations in New York. International rights’ organizations have also criticized the detention of human rights’ lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Sotoudeh, a mother of two, was arrested in September and faces trial on charges of threatening national security. Sotoudeh ended a dry hunger strike last week, Iranian websites said.

source: Reuters

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