Nasser Zarafshan, Human rights defender and lawyer

Re: Nasser Zarafshan, Human rights defender and lawyer

To: President Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC

Date: 2005-02-22

I am writing to you at this time concerning the case of Nasser Zarafshan, whom I understand is being held in Evin prison at this time. I understand that Mr. Zarafshan requires medical treatment for a long-standing kidney problem. The prison authorities have agreed to permitting him to leave custody for medical treatment, but apparently the Tehran Prosecutor, Said Mortazavi, has refused to consent. I understand that without his consent Mr. Zarafshan may not be released even for medical treatment.

We are concerned about the situation of Mr. Zarafshan because his difficulties, including his conviction and imprisonment, seem to stem from his representation and legal actions in relation to the case of a family of political activists who were murdered in 1998. Since becoming involved in that case he was charged with disseminating “confidential information”. Once he was imprisoned his law offices were apparently searched and it is alleged that authorities found weapons and alcohol there. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and 70 lashes after being convicted in a secret trial held before a military court.

We understand that Amnesty International considers Mr. Zarafshan to be a prisoner of conscience who has been arrested and imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his political views and other non-violent acts. Concern has also been expressed about the fairness of his trial.

We respectfully call for Mr. Zarafshan to be permitted immediate access to the medical treatment and care he requires. We ask that he be allowed to leave Evin prison unconditionally and for as long as his medical needs dictate.