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Jailed Iranian Journalist Takes Nokia to Court


Isa Saharkhiz was jailed during Iran's postelection unrest.

Isa Saharkhiz was jailed during Iran's postelection unrest.

Isa Saharkhiz, a prominent Iranian journalist who was jailed in the postelection crackdown, has filed a lawsuit against Nokia Siemens Networks and its parent companies Siemens AG and Nokia Inc. for delivering surveillance equipment to Iran.

A spokesperson for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has said that the company was studying the text of the complaint.

Saharkhiz told his family following his arrest in July 2009 that authorities had traced him through his through his Nokia cell phone.

Maryland law firm Moawad & Herischi, which filed the case against Nokia on behalf of Saharkhiz, says the lawsuit demands that “Nokia Siemens Networks cease all unlawful support of intercepting centers of the Iranian government.”

It also asks Nokia Siemens Networks to help secure Saharkhiz’s release through the use of “their connections with the Iranian Government.”

Saharkhiz’s relatives say his health has deteriorated as result of mistreatment and torture in jail.

The law firm says the suit is also intended to prevent similar cases in other countries.

Following the postelection crackdown, some Iranians said they would boycott Nokia for assisting the Iranian government in tapping phones.

Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi also criticized certain Western companies, including Nokia and Siemens, for selling technology to Iran that is used to aid censorship and repression.

A Nokia Siemens Network spokeswoman, Riita Maard, told AFP in March that the company doesn’t approve of the misuse of telecommunications equipment.

"We believe that communication and mobile phone technologies play a significant role in the development of societies and the advancement of democracy," she said.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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