Hassan Yunessi, A Defender Under Threat
Profession: Attorney at law
Place of Work: Tehran
Hassan Yunessi -- son of Ali Yunessi, former Minister of Information under President Khatami -- is an Iranian attorney who was arrested for publishing articles critical of the treatment of prisoners at Kahrizak Detention Center, torture, forced confessions from prisoners, the results of the 2009 presidential elections, and the polemic “show trials” of participants in the protests that followed. After being arrested on February 20, 2011, he was interrogated for two months in Evin Prison’s Ward 209 before being released on bail. In May of 2011, Yunessi was tried by Judge Moghisseh of Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 28 and sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime,” a 6 million Tuman monetary penalty (substituting a 2-year prison term) for “assembly and conspiracy to commit crimes against national security,” and a five-year suspension from practicing law. A passage from his trialruling reads: “In his writing and publishing of a piece entitled ‘The Real Islamic Republic and the Bogus Islamic Republic,’ the Defendant accuses the Islamic Republic of violating the rights of the people;of lying, deception, and killingopponents and critics; of deeming Halal [legitimate from a religious standpoint] the elimination of dissenters; of resorting to stigmatization, torture, oppression, and intimidation, and of obtaining confessions by force. By putting forth such content and publishing the same, he characterizes the Islamic Republic as ‘bogus.’ In another article, Yunessi characterizes the trials of seditious instigators as ‘show trials.’ In an article entitled ‘25 Days Without News of Sohrab or His Death,’ Yunessi accuses the Regime of oppression and cruelty, calling the formal government ‘illegitimate,’ [using] the term ‘ coup d’état’ and likening the Islamic regime to a monarchical regime. In an article entitled “From the Ebrat Museum to the Kahrizak Museum,’ he accuses the Regime of torture. Yunessi has thus persisted in his propaganda activities against the Regime of the Islamic Republic…” This verdict was immediately upheld by Branch 54 of Tehran Province’s Court of Appeals, and Yunessi began serving his one-year sentence in Evin Prison in July of 2011.