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Exiled Iranian Lawyer Criticizes Regime

Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei (file photo)

Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei (file photo)

Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who has been granted political asylum in Norway, has written to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticizing the regime, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mostafaei represented Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, until he fled Iran this summer.

Mostafaei's criticism was prompted by statements broadcast on Iranian TV on November 15 by two people identified as Ashtiani and her son, in which the woman confessed to being a "sinner" and the man denied reports Ashtiani had been tortured.

"I have wanted to express my complaints against the actions and behavior of the leader and all the other officials in power for a really long time," Mostafaei told RFE/RL on November 17.

"I decided to send this letter after the forced interview with Sakineh and her son Sajjad broadcast by Iranian television, which is a clear example of blackmail and torture in Iran."

The letter was published on Mostafaei's blog and several other Iranian reformist websites on November 16.

Mostafaei said he wrote to Khamenei solely in order to attract the widest possible attention to Ashtiani's plight. For that reason, the letter was translated into English and sent to several other organizations.

In his letter, Mostafaei also recalled the problems he and his family faced after the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

He told RFE/RL: "People expected their economic and social status to improve, and that women's and workers' rights would be observed, but that never happened."

Mostafaei said he did not expect the supreme leader to respond to his letter. "My real expectations are that people will unite and support each other and help those in our country who are oppressed."