A human rights lawyer who has defended a woman facing death by stoning in Iran for adultery says he has fled to Norway to seek protection from Iranian authorities.
Mohammad Mostafaei disappeared from Tehran in the last week of July after he was questioned by Iranian authorities. His wife and brother-in-law were later arrested, according to an Amnesty International report. He arrived in Norway after fleeing to Turkey.
Mostafaei, who is a critic of the Iranian judicial system, appeared at a news conference in Oslo on August 8.
"During the last years, I have managed to save the lives of 18 people," he said. "I have defended 13 people who were accused of adultery and I have managed to save 10 of them from stoning. When they failed to arrest me, they arrested my wife and brother-in-law instead and are holding them now as hostages. The reason for leaving the country was to show the injustice of the judges' judgments, based only on their own opinions."
Mostafaei added, "The fact that this specific case was brought before the international media has angered the Iranian government a lot."
Mostafaei's client, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.
She denies the accusations against her. The case has received international attention, with several Western countries and human rights organizations calling on the Iranian authorities to revise it.
Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's Shari'a law, enforced since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
compiled from agency reports