NewsSpecial WireBritish human rights lawyer blasts report on Iranian group

British human rights lawyer blasts report on Iranian group

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Iran Focus: London, May 22 – A prominent Human Rights lawyer in the United Kingdom levelled serious accusations against U.S.-based Human Rights Watch for a report published on the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin, calling the paper “baseless and unsubstantiated”. Malcolm Fowler, a member of the International Human Rights Committee and Law Reform Board of the Law Society of England and Wales, said in a letter addressed to Human Rights Watch, “The content of the … Iran Focus

London, May 22 – A prominent Human Rights lawyer in the United Kingdom levelled serious accusations against U.S.-based Human Rights Watch for a report published on the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin, calling the paper “baseless and unsubstantiated”.

Malcolm Fowler, a member of the International Human Rights Committee and Law Reform Board of the Law Society of England and Wales, said in a letter addressed to Human Rights Watch, “The content of the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations made by those interviewed did not surprise me, as I have read their allegations and the Iranian Mojahedin’s responses in various publications before. However, what concerned me was the fact that Human Rights Watch decided to publish such a report without carrying out the most basic checks to ensure the accuracy and truth of the testimonies provided and without giving the Iranian Mojahedin an opportunity to respond”.

“As a human rights organisation, you must understand that your failure to afford the Iranian Mojahedin an opportunity to respond to the appalling allegations made against them shows your utter disregard for general principles of fairness and justice. It would be akin in a criminal trial to a Judge hearing the evidence of the prosecution and accepting its case without any scrutiny whatsoever, writing his judgment and publishing it, leaving the Defendant who did not even know that he was ever on trial to find out through the media that he had been found guilty”, he said, referring to the 28-page report based on testimonies of 12 ex-members.

Fowler stated that the conclusions reached after 12 hours of interviews were in breach of the most basic rights of the Mojahedin as neither the motives of the interviewees were checked nor did HRW give the organisation a chance to respond to the allegations, adding, “In my experience as a criminal advocate, in order to conduct proper interviews of those involved, with the aim of ascertaining the veracity of their stories, the interviews would have needed to be carried out face to face and lasted many hours, if not days. Unfortunately, the methodology used in the report gives the impression of a conclusion being reached and attempts then being made to find information to justify the conclusion”.

“I hope that Human Rights Watch and its officers will find it within themselves to correct the injustice that has been done by withdrawing the report – a report that does nothing but attempt to deflect attention from the crimes of the Iranian government both at home and abroad”, he said.

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