Iran Mohammed Olyaeifard completes sentence; Seifzadeh arrested
2 May 2011

Iran Mohammed Olyaeifard completes sentence; Seifzadeh arrested

Iranian lawyer Mohammed Olyaeifard was released from prison on 18 April 2011, after completing a one-year sentence. He was arrested and detained on 1 May 2010, after having been convicted because of an interview in which he spoke out against the execution of one of his clients, Behnoud Shojaee. Shojaee was 17 years old when he committed the murder he was eventually hanged for, and thus a minor according to international law. The Iranian authorities maintain that boys reach adolescence around their fifteenth birthday, and may be judged accordingly from that moment. There is a lot of opposition against this; because of his opposition, Olyaeifard has had to spend a year in prison. Olyaeifard has defended more death sentenced juveniles and has been a vocal critic of such violations of international norms.

In the meantime, Mohammed Seifzadeh, who was convicted in 2010, has been arrested. He was not imprisoned yet, but was missing since 11 April 2011. On 23 April 2011 it turned out that he is in detention in the northwestern city of Urumiyeh. He was indicted for his part in the establishment of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) in 2002, which allegedly threatened the national security. On 30 October 2010, he was convicted to a nine-year prison sentence and was also prohibited to practice law for ten years. Fellow founders of the DHRC Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and Abdolfattah Soltani are being prosecuted for the same reason, while fellow founder Shirin Ebadi has had to leave the country.

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