Iranian Journalist Sues Nokia and Siemens for Helping Iranian Dictators Spy

Friday, August 20, 2010
Isa Saharkhiz

Journalist Isa Saharkhiz of Iran is suing Nokia and Siemens in U.S. federal court claiming the European companies facilitated his capture and torture at the hands of the Iranian government. Saharkhiz, a one-time reporter for the Islamic Republic News Agency and founding member of the Society for the Defense of Freedom of the Press, was thrown into prison and subjected to abuse, he says, which included serving 80 days in solitary confinement and having his ribs broken.

Iranian officials were able to spy on Saharkhiz using a new cell phone service sold by the companies’ joint venture (Nokia Siemens Networks) which came with a “monitoring center” that allowed the government to do everything from block communications to gather information about users. Nokia Siemens own brochure boasted that the network allowed “the monitoring and interception of all types of voice and data communication on all networks.” They later sold their “intelligence solutions” division to the Munich-based investment firm of Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP.
Saharkhiz has been in prison since June 20, 2009. Through his son, Mehdi, he was able to file a lawsuit in American court that seeks damages for torture and violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Isa Saharkhiz et al. v. Nokia and Siemens (U.S. District Court, Eastern Virginia) (pdf)


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