Citizens are prosecuted without legal representation or due process; families of prisoners are not informed of their whereabouts or allowed contact; lawyers are persecuted and arrested for defending political and social activists.

 Violations of legal rights and procedures in Iran


Nasrin Sotoudeh

No news of political prisoners
Two examples of many:
The families of Fovad Farimani (a student at Amirkabir University and activist in the Mousavi camp, arrested 60 days ago) and  Mohammad Ali Mansuri (a 50-year-old political prisoner, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison three years ago and transferred to solitary confinement at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj last month) have been unable to receive any information from authorities regarding their condition (Nov. 22, 2010).

Oct. 26, 2010
Iranian authorities have threatened political prisoners who have sent letters or signed petitions, with “solitary confinement, cancellation of visiting privileges and new legal proceedings”, claims Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, an Iranian journalist and political activist. Tabarzadi, who is serving a nine-year sentence, wrote a letter asking expatriate Iranian lawyers to sue Khamenei in international courts. An Iranian activist posted an English translation of the appeal.

Parvin Tajik, sister of imprisoned journalist Abdolreza Tajik, has reportedly been sentenced to 1 1/2 years. She was tried without the presence of a lawyer and was convicted of "propaganda against the regime" (Nov. 17, 2010).

Nov. 18
The International Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights released the names of two additional attorneys who were arrested in Iran. They are Rosa Gharachorloo, a member of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and Mohammad Niri, a former member of the Committee for the Right to Legal Defense. There is no information about where the two are being held.

Nov. 15
Two more lawyers arrested – Following the announcement of the arrest of three lawyers at Tehran’s airport, Tehran Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced the arrest of two more lawyers on Sunday, on charges related to security and actions against the regime’s values overseas. Head of judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani has said that the lawyers should maintain the dignity of their profession and refrain from engaging in acts that are "contrary to their prestige." He further stated that the lawyers should refrain from giving interviews to foreign media (Qods, November 14, 2010).

Iranian regime continues crackdown on lawyers defending political and human rights activists
Nov. 14

  • On their return from Turkey, lawyers Sara Sabbaghian, Maryam Kian-Ersi and Maryam Karbasi were arrested by security forces at Tehran International Airport. Sabbaghian, a member of the Iran Bar Association Committee for the Defense of Women and Children, was arrested with several other lawyers including Mohammad Ali Dadkhah in July 2010, and is currently one of the lawyers of blogger Hossein Ronaqi. Kian-Ersi is the defense attorney for Kabra Najar, a woman recently sentenced to death by stoning. As yet, there is no news on their whereabouts.
  • Mohammad Mostafaei, the senior lawyer and human rights activist responsible for the provision of legal defense for juveniles sentenced to death, as well as representing Sakineh Mohammadi, the woman sentenced to death by stoning, has been sentenced in absentia by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court to six years prison exile, on charges of acting against national security by giving interviews to Farsi-language media outside Iran.

Nov. 9, 2010 
Newly formed human rights organization condemns arrest and persecution of Iranian lawyers – A statement released by the recently formed International Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights, which also announced the founding of the organization, condemned the “despicable suppression” and arrest of Iranian lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mohammad Oliaeifar. The Committee called for the immediate release of the two lawyers as well as for the assistance of international organizations.

Nasrin Sotoudeh
May 31, 2011: The first court hearing was held this week concerning the suspension of the legal license of Nasrin Sotoudeh. Nasrin was brought to court from Evin Prison flanked by a military and police guard and with her hands cuffed together. Sotoudeh was sentenced to eleven years in prison for her activities and the Iran Bar Association is now demanding she be banned from practicing law. In a letter to her husband from her prison cell, she stressed that whether or not she has a license to work as an attorney, she will continue defending political prisoners from unjust sentences (Rahesabz).

Oct. 4, 2010: Individuals and organizations concerned about civil and human rights have condemned the continued detention without charge or trial of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran, who is being held solely in connection with her work defending human rights campaigners and political activists . Among those calling for her immediate and unconditional release are Nobel Peace Laureate and Iranian lawyer, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI), the Union Internationale des Avocats, and the World Organization Against Torture. 

They warned that her arrest is the latest step in a series of measures intended to prevent Iranians – particularly those critical of the authorities – from being able to access appropriate, competent legal representation, a basic right and important fair trial guarantee. Nasrin Sotoudeh, the mother of two young children, has defended many high-profile human rights campaigners and political activists, including journalist Isa Saharkhiz and Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iran. In a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor General, the husband of the detained lawyer claims she was imprisoned after she refused to withdraw from a case involving one of her colleagues.