Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Amnesty International Appeals on behalf of Nasser Zarafshan

AI Index: MDE 13/007/2005

15 February 2005

Further Information on EXTRA 65/02 (MDE 13/012/2002, 16 August 2002)
Medical concern

IRAN Nasser Zarafshan (m) aged 59, Human rights defender and lawyer

Human rights defender and lawyer Nasser Zarafshan is being refused extended leave from Evin prison by the Tehran prosecutor, despite the fact that he requires medical treatment for a long standing kidney problem.

Amnesty International is concerned that his health could further deteriorate.

Both the prison authorities and Nasser Zarafshan's doctor are in support of him receiving treatment, and have granted him 24 hour leave from the prison. However, Said Mortazavi, the Tehran Prosecutor, is refusing to give his permission in contravention of Article 291 of the Iranian Criminal Procedure Code.

On 2 December 2004 Nasser Zarafshan’s health deteriorated after a severe kidney inflammation and he was hospitalized in Evin Prison. On 6 December his lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, reportedly asked for him to be hospitalized outside the prison. Nasser Zarafshan has been allowed out on three occasions, but has never been granted enough time to seek adequate medical treatment.

On 19 March 2002, a military court sentenced Nasser Zarafshan to five years' imprisonment and 70 lashes following his conviction in a secret trial before a military court. He was given two years for publicizing state information, three years for possession of firearms and 70 lashes for illegally possessing alcohol. He was also banned from practising law, an act which only a disciplinary court for lawyers is legally permitted to undertake. On 16 July 2002 Tehran's appeals court upheld his sentence and he began his five years imprisonment on 7 August 2002. The Supreme Court reportedly upheld his sentence on 25 November 2003.

Nasser Zarafshan had been charged in connection with disseminating "confidential information" relating to a controversial and
widely publicised legal case involving his representation of the family
of political activists who were murdered in 1998 as part of what is known
in Iran as the "serial murders" case. He was also charged with having weapons and alcohol at his law firm following a search of his office carried out while he was in detention and without the presence of his lawyer.

Nasser Zarafshan featured in the 2004 Greeting Cards campaign and has told Amnesty International that he was "astonished" to receive these cards, and that "they had a big effect; they create hope and courage." He added "one cannot measure the effect that the cards had on the authorities", and that the prison administration is more or less "on his side".

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible,
in Persian, English, French or your own language:
- expressing concern for the health Nasser Zarafshan, who reportedly suffers from a long standing kidney problem;
- urging the judicial authorities to grant him immediate and unconditional access to the medical treatment that he needs;
- stating that Amnesty International considers Nasser Zarafshan to be a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for the peaceful expression of his beliefs;
- expressing concern that Nasser Zarafshan was convicted after an unfair trial and calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic
Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 649 5880 (please mark ‘For the attention of the
Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: (mark 'Please forward to HE
Ayatollah Shahroudi')
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic
Republic of Iran
E-mail: (please resend your message if it does
not get through the first time)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Speaker of Parliament
Gholamali Haddad Adel
Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami (Parliament)
Imam Khomeini Avenue,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 646 1746
Salutation: Dear Sir

Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Human Rights Office
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue
Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: (please ask for the message to be
forwarded to the Human Rights Department)
Fax: + 98 21 390 1999
Salutation: Dear Sir

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 March 2005
Internet communications are not secure and therefore Amnesty International
Ltd does not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose or rely on the information in this e-mail.

Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Amnesty International Ltd unless specifically stated. Electronic communications including email might be monitored by Amnesty International Ltd. for operational or business reasons.

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