IABA Expresses Concern over Reports of Continued Mistreatment of Prominent Iranian Lawyer

Washington DC – September 9, 2013 –

In the past month, multiple news outlets and human rights organizations have reported that prominent Iranian lawyer, Massoud Shafiee, has again been subjected to interrogation by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and remains subject to a ban from travelling outside of Iran.  Throughout his legal career, Mr. Shafiee has represented several Iranian political and labor activists, in addition to Sara Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, the three American hikers previously charged by Iranian authorities with espionage and subsequently released in September 2011.  After the release of the American hikers, it was reported that Mr. Shafiee was subject to targeting by the Intelligence Ministry through searches of his person and property, multiple interrogations, seizure of his passport, and a period of detention at Tehran’s Evin Prison.  Due to these circumstances, Mr. Shafiee has been impeded in his ability to effectively represent clients and maintain his practice.

As an independent, voluntary, non-governmental and non-political organization, the Iranian American Bar Association (“IABA”) regards the fair application of the rule of law as one of the principle cornerstones of a just society.  To that end, IABA is committed to the promotion of an independent judiciary and a legal structure that is free from undue political influence and respects the independence of lawyers and advocates.

IABA remains deeply concerned about the treatment of Mr. Shafiee and the ongoing allegations relating to state sanctioned abuse and intimidation of lawyers in Iran.  Whether or not Iranian lawyers undertake politically sensitive or human rights matters, it is essential that they serve as independent advocates for their clients.  As we have previously stated, an independent legal profession is an essential prerequisite to ensure the protection of human rights and the impartial administration of justice.

We urge the Iranian government to review its treatment of Mr. Shafiee and other attorneys who may be facing undue government scrutiny or action because of their work on behalf of clients and to remedy these situations accordingly.  We continue to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any attacks on lawyers, jurists or their family members.  Such actions are antithetic to the effective exercise of the rule of law.

About the Iranian American Bar Association

With over 1500 members and chapters in 12 different metropolitan areas around the country, the Iranian American Bar Association (“IABA”) is one of the most prominent minority bar associations in the United States.  IABA chapters hold networking events, publish articles on key legal developments and provide outreach to lawyers and law students.  IABA also provides an annual scholarship to law students looking for assistance and provides lawyer mentors for those seeking guidance and helps serve the Iranian-American community and the community at large by providing legal advocacy on important issues.