Arent Fox’s Pierre Prosper Wins Release of American Imprisoned in Iran for More than Two Years
Former Rwanda War Crimes Prosecutor and Ambassador-at-Large Successfully Negotiates for American Businessman’s Freedom
LOS ANGELES – October 22, 2010 – Arent Fox counsel Pierre-Richard Prosper has secured the freedom of a 71-year-old Iranian-American man unlawfully imprisoned in Iran for more than two years.
Mr. Prosper, who has served as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, negotiated with Iranian authorities to secure the release of Reza Taghavi, a businessman from Orange County, from Evin Prison in Tehran and return him to his family and home in southern California.
"It's a great day for the many friends and family of Reza," said Ambassador Prosper, speaking with reporters last evening at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving back in the United States with Mr. Taghavi.
"I've been in Iran in jail for 29 months. Now I'm glad that I'm back to the United States in my home now. I'm glad that I'm here and hope everything can be all right from now on," Mr. Taghavi told a cheering crowd of family and friends who gathered at the airport to welcome him home.
Mr. Prosper, who travelled to Tehran again last week to finalize Mr. Taghavi’s release and accompany him home to the United States, said the negotiations took place in several countries over 14 months, and included three separate trips to Iran to meet with Iranian officials in Tehran and several meetings in other countries as well.
"We made a strategic decision to keep this case quiet so that we could begin to work in engagement with the government of Iran. We felt that would give us the most flexibility and most likelihood of success," Mr. Prosper told reporters.
Mr. Taghavi was never officially charged with a crime during his captivity.
About Pierre-Richard Prosper
Using his high-level diplomatic experience and legal skills, Ambassador Prosper is regularly called upon to handle complex and sensitive matters. He has devoted much of his professional life to the protection of human rights. Ambassador Prosper was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush and, after being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, served until October 2005.
From 1999 to 2001, Ambassador Prosper worked in the State Department, where he served as a special counsel and policy adviser on war crimes issues.
From 1996 to late 1998, Ambassador Prosper was a war crimes prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. While working and living in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide, he was appointed lead trial attorney and prosecuted the first case of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention. He won additional convictions for crimes against humanity and broke new ground in international law by convincing the UN Tribunal, for the first time, to recognize rape as an act of genocide and a crime against humanity.
In January 2008, Ambassador Prosper was elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations to serve on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
To read more about Ambassador Prosper, please click here.
About Arent Fox:
Arent Fox LLP (www.arentfox.com), with offices in Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New York City is a recognized leader in areas including intellectual property, real estate, telecommunications, health care, automotive, sports, white collar, international trade, bankruptcy, and complex litigation. With more than 350 lawyers nationwide, Arent Fox has extensive experience in corporate securities, financial restructuring, government relations, labor and employment, finance, tax, corporate compliance, and the global business market. The firm represents Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, trade associations, foreign governments and other entities.