CNN | July 27, 2010
By Gena Somra, CNN
(CNN) — Human rights attorney Mohammed Mostafaei helped bring the world’s attention to his client, Sakineh Mohammedie Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two who was set to be stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery in Iran.
And in the process of his very public campaign to clear his client’s name, Mostafaei may have also turned the Iranian government’s spotlight on himself.
On Saturday, while the world was rallying in support of Ashtiani, hoping to pressure the Iranian government to reverse her death sentence, human rights groups say Mostafaei was being questioned by Iranian authorities for four straight hours in Evin prison before being released.
His crime? According to Rudi Bakhtiar from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Mostafaei was being pressured for making the Ashtiani case too public.
“The reason why Mr. Mostafaei is under fire is no doubt because of the worldwide attention concerning the Ashtiani case,” she said. “And this is something the Iranian government does not like at all.”
Mostafaei told CNN in July that he had been arrested once before, shortly after the post election turmoil in 2009, and that he knew the risks he was taking by speaking so publicly about the Ashtiani case. But he also said that risk wouldn’t deter him from speaking out about human rights abuses in Iran.
Now it seems his family may be paying the price. Bakhtiar and other human rights advocates said Mostafaei went into hiding on Saturday to avoid arrest.