Nokia Siemens is being sued by a journalist imprisoned without trial in Iran since June 2009 for allegedly providing the Iranian government with surveillance equipment used to capture him.
Following the apparently fraudulent 2009 presidential elections, Isa Saharkhiz went into hiding after publishing an article calling the Grand Ayatollah a hypocrite, responsible for the fraudulent vote tallies. A complaint filed in federal court in Virginia asserts authorities with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security were able to track him with cellphone-monitoring devices and other eavesdropping equipment provided by Nokia Siemens.
“Defendants knowingly and willingly delivered very capable and sophisticated equipment for unlawful intercepting, monitoring, and filtering of electronic communications (‘Intelligence Solutions’) to Iranian officials,” the complaint states. “In effect, defendants are directly involved in the unlawful censoring and monitoring of journalists, activists, and citizens in Iran by supplying the government of Iran with the technology needed to perform interceptions, monitoring, controls, content filtering, deep packing filtering and network scanning.”
The document further asserts that Saharkhiz has been tortured since his imprisonment. The complaint also states it may be amended to add a further 1,500 political prisoners in Iran caught under similar circumstances.
The complaint accuses the company of supplying surveillance technology to the centers used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been cited for its support of terrorism.
“The technology supplied by defendants allows Iranian government authorities to monitor any communications across a network, which includes voice calls, text messages, instant messages, and web traffic,” the complaint states. “This monitoring system can also interrogate data to see what information is being passed back and forth.”
Nokia Siemens responded with the following statement:
“The Saharkhiz lawsuit is brought in the wrong place, against the wrong party and on the wrong premise. The Saharkhizes allege brutal treatment by the government in Iran, but they have not sued that government. Instead, they are seeking to blame Nokia Siemens Networks for the acts of the Iranian authorities by filing a lawsuit in the U.S., a country that has absolutely no connection to the issue they are raising.”