Iranian defense lawyer wins refuge

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Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said he’s glad that Iranian human rights advocate and defense lawyer Mohammed Mostafaei has arrived safely in Norway, after fleeing Iran under threat of arrest.

Mostafaei landed in Oslo over the weekend after first fleeing to Turkey and then traveling on to Norway, for which he already held a valid visa. He has since sought and been granted asylum in Norway.

Støre said that ever since the Norwegian authorities learned that Mostafaei had fled to Turkey, “Norway has, like a number of other countries, been concerned that he should be given protection and not returned to Iran,” Støre said. He commended Turkey and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the part they played in bringing Mostafaei to safety.

Mostafaei has defended a number of persons in Iran who have been sentenced to death in what many countries view as clear violations of their human rights. He most recently was involved with the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning. She won a reprieve after international outcry.

Støre said Norway has “repeatedly expressed concern about the human rights situation in Iran,” and in particular the country’s “inhumane means of punishment.” He said Mostafaei has “fearlessly” served as a defense attorney in a number of such cases.

He called it “regrettable” that the pressure put on people like Mostafaei becomes so great that they feel forced to flee.

“Norway is committed to supporting human rights defenders in Iran and will continue to do so,” Støre said. “We call on Iran to respect human rights and fulfill its international obligations.”

Views and News staff