WASHINGTON – The daughter of an Iranian-German dissident from the United States who was captured four months ago on his trip to the Gulf of Iran says the Iranian authorities treated him harshly, denying him access to a lawyer chosen by the family and new televised pictures of him apparently forced confession.
In an interview with VOA Persian from Los Angeles, where her family lives, the daughter of dissident Jamshid Sharmahd said on Monday that an Iranian lawyer who was hired by her family in early October has since been prevented by the Iranian judiciary from trying theirs Meet father or access his files.
“The judiciary has told our lawyer that they cannot meet my father or see his charge sheet as his case is currently under investigation,” said Gazelle Sharmahd.
Iran normally only allows attorneys on a government-approved list to work at the investigative stage on cases involving alleged national security violations.
Sharmahd said her family’s lawyer, whose name she had withheld on privacy concerns, was not on the government list. But she said the attorney pledged to keep trying to access her father’s file.
The German embassy in Tehran has also offered to support the lawyer’s efforts, Sharmahd said.
In a statement to VOA, an official from the German Foreign Ministry said that the embassy staff had “frequently asked for consular access to the person concerned”.
“However, the Iranian authorities have rejected these applications,” said the German official.
Iran rarely allows prisoners with dual Iranian and foreign citizenship to have consular visits from foreign officials, as it does not accept that Iranians can have other citizenships.
VOA cannot independently review the activities of the Sharmahd family’s Iranian lawyer as reporting is prohibited within the Islamist-ruled country.
Jamshid Sharmahd went missing in late July while stopping over in Dubai while his family said he was trying to book an onward flight to India for a business trip.
The Iranian state media reported on August 1 that Iranian intelligence agents had captured the 65-year-old Iranian-German dual national in a “complex operation” without specifying when or where he was arrested. On the same day, Iranian state television aired a program in which the dissident apparently confessed to having mastered a 2008 bomb attack in a mosque in the southwestern city of Shiraz, in which 14 Iranians were killed and 215 others injured.
Family tells AP: Iran kidnaps California man while in Dubai
The family tells the Associated Press that the man was apparently first smuggled into Oman and then taken to the Islamic Republic
Sharmahd’s family has denied his involvement in violence. It has described him as the spokesman for Tondar, an Iranian opposition group seeking to replace the nation’s ruling Shiite clergy, who seized power in an Islamic revolution in 1979, with a revitalized monarchy.
Tondar, also known as the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, said its activists have carried out some attacks in Iran in the past few decades, but its US-based members have tried to distance themselves from these incidents.
Iranian state television has often broadcast confessions from dissidents accusing the authorities of pressuring or torturing them in order to incriminate themselves in front of cameras while in detention.
A second state television program with pictures of Sharmahd aired on November 18, showing him being blindfolded into a room before removing the blindfold and speaking in front of a camera.
My father was kidnapped and imprisoned for almost 4 months under false accusations, unknown conditions and without a lawyer! The Islamic regime used his forced confessions to create a shameful propaganda TV special on Channel 3 to promote their “powerful intelligence”. https://t.co/xgYUsHZX4o
– Gazelle (@GazelleSharmahd) November 20, 2020
His daughter Gazelle tweeted that Iran again used a “forced confession” to create a shameful propaganda TV special.
She told VOA that the pictures were the first she’d seen of her father since the August 1st video, but she wasn’t sure when they were shot.
The dissident’s daughter said the only communication he had with his US-based family was three phone calls he made on September 22, October 13 and October 28.
Gazelle Sharmahd said her father gave little information about his status in the first two phone calls other than that he was in Tehran because people who appeared to be nearby could be asked if he could provide certain information. She said he announced on the third call that he was in Evin Prison in Tehran, but added that she was not sure if Evin was his real whereabouts.
The dissident’s family have repeatedly raised health concerns and said he needed medication for diabetes and Parkinson’s.
“They don’t know if someone points a gun at their head and makes them say things,” said Gazelle Sharmahd. “So I want someone I trust to see how they are physically doing, and after that I want someone to access their files and see what the charges are against them.”
The German newspaper Die Welt reported earlier this month that four German citizens were known in Berlin who were detained in Iranian prisons. The federal government made the disclosure at the request of the Iranian-born German legislature of the Greens, Omid Nouripour. The identities of the four arrested Germans were not disclosed.
The United States last commented on Sharmahd’s case when news of his capture came on August 1. Reuters quoted a State Department spokeswoman as saying the US was aware of these reports.
“The Iranian regime has a long history of arresting Iranians and foreigners on false charges. We urge Iran to be fully transparent and to comply with all international legal standards, ”said the then US official.
This article comes from the Persian Service from VOA. Click here for the original Persian version of the story.