US hikers’ lawyer prevented from leaving Iran

TEHRAN — Lawyer Masoud Shafii who represented the now free US hikers held for two years in Iran on espionage and illegal entry charges was barred from leaving the country on Sunday, a source close to the case told AFP.

“This morning at around six o’clock (0230 GMT), after getting his passport stamped and as he was boarding the plane, his passport was confiscated by order of the judiciary,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

The source added that Shafii “could not proceed to his final destination which was the United States,” without elaborating on why his passport had been seized.

On Tuesday Shafii was arrested at his home and questioned for several hours by judiciary officials before being released, the source said, adding that agents confiscated documents, his computer and his passport, but returned them later.

Shafii represented Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd in a case which lasted for more than two years. He always maintained that his clients were innocent, and was criticised by conservative hardliners in the Islamic republic.

Shafii also criticised the judiciary for not allowing him proper access to the three, as required by the law.


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