Mitchell Reports | April 16, 2012
>> and sarah shourd is one of three american hikers you recall were accused of spying held in an iranian prison. she was held for 14 months. her friends also were held for a much longer period. she is now working with united for iran .org. it is great to see you again. i shared the joy when you were released in september of 2010 . then your friends shane and josh finally got out quite a long time later. another year they were held. but now you're concerned about your lawyer. your iranian lawyer, tell me what the story is and how he is being punished for what he did to get you free.
>> yes, it's great to be here. well, for over two years, our iranian lawyer mr. massoud shafee did everything in his power to defend our freedom and our innocence. and to work towards our freedom. within the parameters of iranian law. he did this through the proper legal channels and despite this, as a result of our case, he copies to be punished by the iranian government .
>> how are they punishing him?
>> he has been restricted from traveling outside of iran and prohibited from working as a lawyer. unfortunately, in december of 2010 , mr. shafee's sister passed away. she was living in chicago at the time. and he was unable to be visit her before she pass or to attend her funeral because of the urgent work that he was doing on our case. as soon as shane and josh were freed six months ago, mr. shafee made plans to visit the united states where he has family and to also pay his respects to his sister. just as he was about to board the plane in tehran, iranian authorities appeared on scene, confiscated his passport, told him he was not allowed to travel. the next day he was arrested and interrogated and released a day later. as far as we know, the investigation against him is still on going.
>> do you have any contact with him?
>> very little contact. and we're extremely concerned. unfortunately, this can practice has become common in iran under this regime. there's another human rights lawyer nazarene setuda who is currently serving a six-year sentence because of her human rights work as an attorney in iran . and she's banned from leaving the country for over ten years. once she's freed from prison.
>> you know, the world community focused so -- i was just thinking that the world community focuses so intensively for obvious reasons about the nuclear program, the investigation into that, the negotiation that were held this weekend in istanbul. and the prospect for some sort of threatened military action and we tend not to look at what's happening with human rights and the stifling of any effort at elections again or voting or students rights notice iran .
>> exactly, andrea. and as hartening as the news you know, obviously the news from last weekend is very welcome, that the talks were encouraging on both sides and that they will continue, but the human rights issue in iran needs to be brought to the center of the debate around iran . by doing -- by punishing people such as our lawyer and nazarene satuda, the iranian government is sending a mess and to other human rights lawyers in iran that if they take on controversial or political cases such as ours, the same thing will lap to them and for this reason -- the international community needs to really keep its eyes on the human rights situation in iran .
>>> sarah, a apologize for the slight satellite delay. thank you very much. and thank you for all you're doing and our best to shane and josh as well.