Lawyer for jailed women activists quits
TEHRAN 6 June (IPS) -- Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, one of the most eminent Iranian
female lawyers announced that she was resigning to represent a colleague
and a publisher in protest to the "illegal" behaviour of the
Iranian Judiciary concerning political detainees.
Speaking to reporters, including the Persian and Pashtou Services of
the BBC, Mrs. Ebadi revealed that in the one month she has been representing
Mrs. Mehranguiz Kar, a secularits lawyer and Mrs. Shahla Lahiji, an independent
Publisher, the Judiciary has adamantly refused her to contact the prisoners
and talk and consult with them.
Mrs. Kar and Lahiji were arrested more than a month ago on their return
from Berlin where they had attended a conference organised in the German
capital by the Heinrish Boel Institute to debate the future of the Islamic
Republic in the aftermath of the landslide victory of the reformist in
the last February Majles (parliament) elections.
But the meeting was jolted and disrupted from the start by groups of
Iranian political and some less political opposition groups chanting anti-Islamic
Republic slogans and also denouncing the Iranian participants of the Conference
as being "mercenaries" of the theocratic system.
The second day of the venue saw a an Iranian woman taking off her cloth
but the Islamic chador while a man was exhibiting completely nude, probably
in order to be pictured to help him getting political asylum from German
Held at the height of tension between the triumphant reformists and
the defeated conservatives, with the latter planing to proclaim a state
of emergency in order to cancel the elections and prevent the formation
of the new Legislative, the Berlin Conference became an arm against the
reformists in the hands of the hard liners who called on the authorities
to arrest all the 17 Iranians who attended the meeting.
But while Mrs. Kar, Lahiji, Mr. Akbar Ganji, the leading Iranian investigative
journalist and writer and Mr. Alireza Afshar, a students leader were arrested
and charged with "anti-State propaganda and activities", Mr.
Hamid Reza Jala'ipour, publisher of the banned Asre Azadegan Mr. Ezzatollah
Sahabi, owner of the closed Iran Farda bi-weekly and Mrs. Jamileh Kadivar,
the second elected MP from Tehran were released on bail while others, like
Hojjatoleslam hasan Yusefi Eshkevari, a nationalist-religious reformer
or Dr. Changuiz Pahlavan, a scholar, are still in Europe.
Mrs. Ebadi observed that Mrs. Kar, who is also a prominent lawyer, has
many of her clients bewildered while Mrs. Lahiji has to take important
decisions, but the Judiciary authorities would refuse them contact and
consultation with their lawyer.
At the same time, friends and families of the detainees expressed concern
on their health situation and a prisoner released recently said Mr. Ganji
is seriously ill and must be taken to hospital but that the prison authorities
They told journalists that all four detainees are suffering from heavy
psychic and moral pressure and some of them are denied medical care.
"Not only the Judiciary systematically refuses to answer my questions,
but they also ignored a protest letter sent to them by the Bar Association",
Mrs. Ebadi said, adding: "in such a situation where I as a lawyer
can do nothing for the prisoner, it is better to let them face the authorities",
she pointed out.