January 11, 2010
Following the remarks of the head of the committee on national security and foreign policy of Iran’s national assembly the Majlis on Thursday to the effect that the three detained American would not be freed soon, Masoud Shafii, the defense attorney for the detainees told Rooz that his request to meet the Americans in prison had been ignored by judiciary officials.
Shafii said in this regard, “I have made several requests to meet” the Americans. “Prosecution officials have agree to such a meeting but nothing was followed up. They told that these three detained Americans had signed the power of attorney papers in prison. But there is still no news of a meeting.”
The attorney further said, “After five months of temporary detention, these detainees remain in uncertainty. My request is that those in charge of the case speed up the process so that the suspects come out of this limbo situation. And even though officials have said that the case is still in its research (i.e. discovery) stage, requesting to meet them after five months is a small request.”
Shafii reiterated that “despite the futility of my efforts so far, I shall continue to work to meet them in prison.” In another part of his interview he said, “According to Iranian
Law no detainee can be held temporarily for more than four months, so judiciary officials must either schedule a court hearing as soon as possible or free the suspects.”
Hikers in Return for Diplomat?
Under these circumstances, the recent remarks by Allaedin Borujerdi have heightened the concerns of the detainees’ family members and the defense attorney has talked about the case being politicized and used for political purposes. On Thursday, Borujerdi told reporters, “The US should not expect the three hikers from the US who have been in detention since summer because of crossing the Iraqi border into Iran to be released soon.” Then he made a direct reference to “the arrest of Iranian diplomats in Iraq” by American forces and said, “Americans should not be expecting a quick release of these three individuals.” He continued, “Through their aggressive operations that are against the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic activities, the Americans have arrested and detained for a long time Iranian diplomats who were present at their official legation.”