Fifteen Days after Arrest, Farhad Meysami Still Held Incommunicado
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On August 12th, Farhad Meysami’s mother, along with lawyer Arash Keykhosravi, went to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Evin Prison to inquire about his status and register Keykhosravi as Meysami’s attorney. Evin’s interrogation branch 7 denied the registration, referencing clause 48 of Iran’s Criminal Procedures Regulations.
HRANA reported on Meysami’s arrest by security forces in his home on the evening of July 31, 2018. He was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison and has not been heard from since.
Keykhosravi confirmed that he was denied the right to represent Meysami on August 12th, adding that Meysami’s mother was frantically seeking answers after receiving a phone call in which sounds of her son’s torture, and supposed confession, could be heard. The interrogator at Branch 7 denied the call was made by prison authorities, and promised her a well-check phone call from her son.
Stating that there is no further information available about Meysami’s charges, Keykhosravi continued, “Many cases involving security charges have no security basis at all. When someone criticizes an issue or actively stands up against something, the government immediately treats it as a national-security case and deprives that person of their basic and fundamental rights. As it concerns Mr. Meysami, we suspect he was arrested for his criticism of the mandatory hijab, which affects neither domestic nor foreign security. Objections like these are the mere expression of differing ideas and perspectives. Elevating such cases into security accusations is a violation of people’s fundamental rights, including the right to choose a lawyer, which is revoked per clause 48 of the Criminal Procedures Regulations.”
According to clause 48 of the new Criminal Procedure, during the initial stages of investigation against those accused of political and national-security crimes, defendants must pick their attorney from a list of lawyers pre-approved by the judiciary. Citizens’ rights organizations claim that this law infringes on the rights of the accused.