Lawyer Accuses Intelligence Ministry in Kermanshah of Harassing Kurdish Civil Rights Activist
In the six months since she was released from a three-week detention, Iranian Kurdish children and women’s rights activist Farzaneh Jalali has been repeatedly called in for questioning by the Intelligence Ministry.
“My client has been under various kinds of pressure, but by law I cannot speak about them,” Jalali’s attorney, Mostafa Ahmadian, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 21, 2017. “If she is under investigation, it cannot be unnecessarily prolonged and twisted, and as her lawyer, I cannot be denied access to her file and my client should not be put under psychological pressure.”
“The law gives suspects the right to remain silent,” added Ahmadian. “Suspects cannot be asked loaded questions, interrogators have to maintain impartiality, and legal counsel should be informed of ongoing investigations. I wish to direct the judiciary’s attention to these principles, which have been overlooked in Ms. Jalali’s case.”
The former student activist and university newspaper editor was arrested on February 23, 2017, by agents of the Intelligence Ministry’s office in Kermanshah, 281 miles west of Tehran, and questioned for nearly three weeks before being released on 300 million tomans ($92,000 USD) bail on March 13.
She has since been continuously harassed and accused of national security charges without any legal justification, her lawyer told CHRI.
“My client has been cooperative by agreeing to requests over the phone to appear for questioning, but I have asked her to ignore these calls unless she receives written summons or electronic messages in accordance with legal procedures,” said Ahmadian.
Despite achieving exceptionally high grades in Iran’s extremely competitive national entrance exams, Jalali’s peaceful activism resulted in her being denied the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in anthropology at Tehran University in 2010. Prior to that she was the editor-in-chief of Tehran University’s student newspaper, Sobh (Morning), in the late 2000s.
Jalali continued her peaceful advocacy of civil rights in Iran, including by helping to raise awareness about elementary students who suffered severe burns in a fire that destroyed their school in the village of Shinabad, West Azerbaijan Province, in December 2012.
Jalali has also written articles in defense of women’s rights for Roj, a progressive website covering issues affecting Iran’s Kurdistan region.