AFP: The United States said Tuesday it was “gravely concerned” about Iran’s alleged crackdown on human rights lawyers and called for the release of all those who have been detained.
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2010 (AFP) – The United States said Tuesday it was “gravely concerned” about Iran’s alleged crackdown on human rights lawyers and called for the release of all those who have been detained.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley criticized the trial of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh for taking place “without the transparency and due process guaranteed under Iranian law.”
“The United States remains gravely concerned about Iran’s continued harassment, detention and imprisonment of human rights defenders,” he told reporters.
“Iran’s leaders should know that their efforts to silence those Iranians who stand up for the rights of their fellow citizens does not go unnoticed.”
The spokesman called for the “immediate release” of all political prisoners in Iran — including those jailed for defending prisoners or speaking out against human rights abuses.
“We… urge Iran to afford its citizens those rights that are universal to all people,” he added.
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Sunday that Iranian officials had arrested five lawyers, including three women, on charges of “committing security crimes and acts violating the Islamic republic’s norms outside the country.”
He did not identify the lawyers and did not provide further details.
Newspapers reported the arrest of three female lawyers — Sara Sabaghian, Maryam Kianersi and Maryam Karbasi — at the Imam Khomeini airport on Saturday.
Several human rights lawyers have been targeted in Iran’s ongoing crackdown on dissent, which has seen scores of activists, journalists and government critics jailed since the disputed 2009 presidential election and the ensuing unrest.