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IRAN: Human-rights lawyer finds himself a target, once again

August 19, 2009 | 12:02 pm

Iran-dadkhah Mohammed Dadkhah never organized political rallies or delivered soaring speeches.

He's a lawyer, the rare and daring kind of attorney who represents political activists, dissidents and religious minorities in Iran accused of crimes against the state. 

He was already locked in prison once, back in 2003, in an apparent attempt to prevent him from speaking up for those accused of political wrongs.

Now he is in jail again, locked up in Evin Prison, the same one where most of his clients have spent time.

According to his colleagues, Dadkhah has been under heavy pressure to publicly confess to being involved in a nefarious plot against the Islamic Republic

Specifically, his interrogators wanted him to betray the the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the small nonprofit organization he runs with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, and to state that Ebadi was a traitor.

According to fellow lawyers who got a chance to meet with him, he was severely abused during the first days of his imprisonment in solitary confinement in early July. 

For two days, he was deprived of food. Then he was blindfolded and thrown down a spiral stairwell. For a few days, he was barred from using the bathroom.

He was told that his teenage daughter was also under arrest, only to find out later it was a lie.

Still, he refused to budge.

After a while, the interrogators gave up. They allowed him to leave solitary and stay in a ward with other prisoners. 

Now, Dadkhah even has access to the prison library, though it's still unclear what the respected attorney -- who is the son and grandson of well-known jurists -- is charged with.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Photo: Mohammed Dadkhah in a 2007 photo. Credit: Newsha Tavakolian / For The Times

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