The lawyer who choose to defend a pair of Americans who were held in an Iranian prison has been bared from leaving the county. The defense lawyer, who worked on the case for over two years (exactly 781 days) are the accused sat in a jail cell in Iran, accused of being spies, is now confined within the boundaries of the nation, according to a report made by a judiciary official to the ISNA news agency on Monday of this week.
The lawyer in question, one Masoud Shafie , acted as council for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer. Mr. Fattal and Mr. Bauer were stopped and arrested at the border of Iran in 2009. The two men asserted that they were simply hiking, but they were still arrested by Iranian officials and help on suspicion of espionage. The pair was convicted in August and sentenced to eight years in prison as a punishment. Roughly, two weeks ago the pair was released, under of bail of $1 million, which was paid by Oman.
The ISNA was able to confirm that the defense attorney was not currently under arrest, by using an Iranian judiciary official as a source. This information was contrary to the information being released by Western media reports that stated Mr. Shafie had been arrested after his clients left Iran for American on bail. They were able to confirm that he is not allowed to leave the nation for any reason at the current moment.
When asked why he was not allowed to leave the as yet unnamed Iranian judicial official would not give a specific reason for detainment at this time. They stated that the official “postponed until later giving explanation about why he was barred from leaving the country.” Though this kind of response is not entirely unexpected given the nature of the charges against his clients.
While Mr. Shafie was not currently available for contact regarding this matter, his last known statement was made to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a campaign group based in the United States. He told them that in the prior week he was taken from his home to Tehran’s Evin Prison for questioning, with out an arrest warrant. Several files were also removed from his home by security forces, also without a warrant, by security forces. Some of the files seized did relate to the case of the two Americans.
During his time representing the two Americans Mr. Shafie was only allowed to meet with them a few times during the closed-door court hearings. After the statement he made a statement regarding the case, “It was my belief, and still is, that they are innocent and I have not seen any evidence that shows they are guilty.”
Since Tehran and Washington have no official diplomatic channels since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, diplomats from several different nations helped to free the hikers from the Iranian prison. Their release came just one day before the Iranian president was set to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York.