Iran and Turkey: Mohammad Mostafaei Arrested in Istanbul, Family Detained

The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW Campaign) and Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are seriously concerned about the reported arrest of the wife and brother-in-law of human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei. They were arrested on 24 July 2010 and are being held in the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. His wife, Fereshteh Halimi, called her parents to confirm her arrest and detention.

Her brother, Farhad Halimi, is also believed to be detained there.  There are strong indications that their arrest is intended to pressure Mohammad Mostafaei to turn himself in.   Mohammad Mostafaei is a leading human rights lawyer who defended Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death by stoning, and a number of other detainees in Iran.


<--break->Background to the Case 

On 21 July 2010, Mohammad Mostafaei was issued a summons requiring him to go to a branch of the Prosecutor’s Office in Evin Prison. He went there on 24 July, was questioned for at least one hour and then was released.  Later, however, he received a further summons by telephone. The same evening, his wife and her brother were arrested and have been detained since then.  They may be held on suspicion of hiding somebody wanted by the authorities.

Mohammad Mostafaei's current whereabouts are not known. On the evening of 24 July he wrote on his Facebook account: “'It is possible they will arrest me".

Mohammad Mostafaei and Fereshteh Halimi have a daughter aged around 7, who is currently believed to be in the care of Fereshteh Halimi’s mother.

A human rights defender 

Mohammad Mostafaei is a human rights lawyer who has taken up cases of juvenile offenders, those convicted of a capital offence committed while under the age of 18; has been able to save the lives of some men and women facing stoning and has represented numerous cases of political prisoners in courts.  He was briefly detained following the June 2009 presidential election in Iran. His work as a human rights defender came into the spotlight when he acted as the defense counsel for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose sentence of death by stoning for alleged adultery recently provoked a wide international public outcry and is a focus of continuing protests and demands for clemency around the world.  Following his interrogation on 24 July, he wrote on his blog that he was questioned mainly about his defense of juvenile offenders and about a bank account he used to hold blood money to give to the family of victims.


What you can do

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Persian or your own language:

Expressing concern about the arrest and detention of Fereshteh Halimi and Farhad Halimi being held solely on account of their relationship with human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei;

Urging the authorities to release Fereshteh Halimi and Farhad Halimi immediately and unconditionally if they are prisoners of conscience and to protect them from torture or other ill-treatment or abuse of their rights;

Reminding the authorities that the harassment and arrest of family members solely in order to bring pressure on someone else is a human rights violation and that anyone making such an order is violating the human rights of those targeted.

Also cite that Mohammad Mostafaei is a human rights defender. Under the United Nations  Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally  Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (or the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders) adopted by the UN General Assembly on 08 March 1999 (General Assembly resolution 53/144), the Iranian government has the primary responsibility and duty to protect and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals who work for the promotion and protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of others.    

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via website: First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Provincial Judiciary in Tehran
Ali Reza Avaei
Karimkhan Zand Avenue
Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17, No. 152
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Dear Mr Avae

And copies to:

Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 3390 4986
Email: (In subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Sources: SKSW Campaign,
Amnesty International FU on UA: 175/2009 Index: MDE 13/80/2010 Issue Date: 26 July 2010