Responding to the arrest of Zeynab Taheri, the lawyer of Mohammad Salas, the 51-year-old Sufi bus driver who was executed on Monday morning after a grossly unfair trial, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:
“It’s telling that Zeynab Taheri’s arrest followed her public announcement that she intended to publish key evidence pointing to Mohammad Salas’ innocence. Her arrest exposes yet again the Iranian authorities’ relentless persecution of lawyers who speak out against torture and unfair trials.
“Her arrest exposes yet again the Iranian authorities’ relentless persecution of lawyers who speak out against torture and unfair trials.”
“Zeynab Taheri has been a vocal advocate for Mohammad Salas by publicly calling out the unfairness of his trial, including the dismissal of key evidence indicating his innocence.
“Zeynab Taheri must be immediately and unconditionally released. Instead of arresting her for her work as a lawyer, the Iranian authorities should be addressing the widely held concerns regarding the unconscionable execution of Mohammad Salas after a grossly unfair trial.”
Zeynab Taheri was arrested yesterday morning on trumped-up charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “publishing lies” and “disturbing public opinion”.
There are reports indicating that she has been taken to Shahr-e Rey prison (also known as Gharchak), in Varamin, near Tehran, where several hundred women convicted of violent offences are held in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.
Zeynab Taheri is also defending Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been sentenced to death and is at risk of execution.
The Iranian authorities have a long track record of persecuting lawyers who represent individuals imprisoned for politically motivated reasons, including prisoners of conscience.