Has previously represented other high profile cases in Iran.
In 2008, he took on the case of two Iranian HIV/AIDS doctors who had been developing harm-reductions programmes in Iran and the Global Health in the Middle East and Central Asia training programme.
The brothers were accused of conspiring to overthrow the Iranian government.They are currently serving sentences of six years and three years respectively, for “communications with an enemy government” and a number of secret charges.
In December 2009, the families of the US hikers appointed Masoud Shafii to represent the 3 prisoners.
He did not get to see the prisoners until Sarah’s release in September, when Shane and Josh were allowed to speak with him for 5 minutes, in the presence of the investigators and prosecutor.
They were told they would see him for a few hours before the trial in February, but that didn’t happen.
“The court could have separated the cases of the two suspects currently in prison from Sarah Shourd’s during the last court session, either issuing a separate ruling for her, or, if necessary, extend the time for Shourd’s court session.
According to Article 209 of the Criminal Penal Code, where there are multiple suspects in a case, the case judge is required to review each case separately, as, for example, one of the suspects may have fled. The judge cannot leave the case open for others with the excuse of the [absent] suspect. I brought this up during the last court session, but they did not pay any attention to it.”
“I insist to bring up the necessity of implementing Article 209 of the Criminal Penal Code, so that in the event of Shourd’s absence, her case is separated from the cases of Shane [Bauer] and Josh [Fattal], who have been in prison in Iran for well over a year.
It appears from the summons I have received that Shourd’s absence at the 11 May session could be used as an excuse for rescheduling the session to another time, and this action is not supported by the law, because first, Ms. Sarah [Shourd] has bail funds which can be used, and second, according to Article 209, the judge is obligated to separate Sarah’s case from the cases of the other two suspects.
If anything other than this is decided, unfortunately, the legal course has not been taken."
“I don’t wish to express political opinions. But anyone who knows basic things about politics would know that if these individuals were spies, the US government would have made a more serious effort for them.
The international protocol regarding spies is either to exchange them or to take other actions which would be very different from the current circumstances. Additionally, there is no evidence that would support their being spies. So, in such a case, normal legal routes must be taken.”
“They can’t even be accused of illegal entry. Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was questioned [in the Parliament] about the lack of [sufficient] markings on the Iranian borders. Now the question is, how could three young foreigners easily determine whether this spot is a continuation of Iraqi soil or [the beginning of] Iranian soil. If you and I were there, too, we couldn’t naturally distinguish it.
From a legal point of view, there is no justification for continuing this case.
“I hope that the court will, God willing, approach this legally and that the case is adjourned on 11 May. Even if the court rules that my clients, Josh and Shane, are guilty, they cannot be detained for longer than the time they have already spent in prison.
The law expresses that individuals cannot be imprisoned for longer than the minimum punishment [without a conviction]. They can’t keep them [in prison] like this. Perhaps the Judge will sentence them to less than one year in prison; then, who would be accountable for the prison time they have already endured?
I have been saying these things for the past year, but, unfortunately, nobody cares.”
Feb 5th 2011 - Masoud Shafii - Lawyer for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal
"I should have met with Shane and Josh to prepare the defense, but I was not allowed. I have been told, tomorrow I might see them one or two hours before the trial".
Feb 7th 2011 - Masoud Shafii - Lawyer for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal
“I was able to review the case.
But despite my repeated requests to see my clients, I was not allowed to do so.
They were supposed to be available to me one-to-two hours before the session today, and I arrived the courts early, but they were brought to court from prison fifteen minutes after the scheduled court time, and we had to go directly into court.”
“Today I objected again to these circumstances, where I was not able to see my clients before court in order to talk to them. Judge Salavati promised to give me an extensive visit in prison. We will have to wait and see what happens.”
“Fortunately, they were brought to court without handcuffs and prison uniforms. They were both wearing normal clothes. I sat next to them. They were well.
"I'm pretty sure they won't be convicted, because [the trial] doesn't have any legal justification." "Even if they are convicted, [the sentence] shouldn't be for more than what they have already spent in jail” .
"I have studied the case in full detail. The question of spying is irrelevant. There is just the question of illegal entry, which even if it has happened has been inadvertent as the border was unmarked."
"They are not at all at fault"