Tag Archives: Iran

Iran: Unrelenting Repression

January 17, 2019

Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017.

Iranian authorities carried out arbitrary mass arrests and serious due process violations during 2018 in response to protests across the country over deteriorating economic conditions, perceptions of corruption, and the lack of political and social freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. Authorities tightened their grip on peaceful activism, detaining lawyers, human rights defenders, and women’s rights activists.

Since January 24, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organization has detained eight environment activists – Taher Ghadirian, Niloufar Bayani, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Sam Rajabi, Sepideh Kashani, Morad Tahbaz, and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh – accusing them – but providing no evidence – of using environmental projects as a cover to collect classified strategic information. Four are reportedly facing a capital charge. On February 10, the family of Kavous Seyed Emami, a well-known Iranian-Canadian environmentalist and professor reported that he had died in detention. Authorities claimed he committed suicide, but they have not conducted an impartial investigation.

“Iranian leaders blame the world for their problems, but don’t look in the mirror to reflect on how their own systematic repression contributes to Iranians’ frustration,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Iran’s security apparatus and its repressive, unaccountable judiciary are serious obstacles to respect for and protection of human rights.”

In the 674-page World Report 2019, its 29th edition, Human Rights Watch reviewed human rights practices in more than 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the populists spreading hatred and intolerance in many countries are spawning a resistance. New alliances of rights-respecting governments, often prompted and joined by civic groups and the public, are raising the cost of autocratic excess. Their successes illustrate the possibility of defending human rights – indeed, the responsibility to do so – even in darker times.

The authorities arrested thousands of people in protests, and in unfair trials marred by due process violations handed down harsh sentences, including for the legitimate exercise of people’s freedoms. To further restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel, particularly during the investigation period, the judiciary has limited the list of lawyers who could represent people charged with national security crimes.

In December 2017 and January 2018, several women took their headscarves off while standing on electric utility boxes across the country to protest Iran’s compulsory hijab law. Courts have sentenced several of them to prison. Intelligence agents have also cracked down on peaceful protests against the abusive hijab laws. They arrested Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer, her husband, Reza Khandan, and Farhard Meysami, another human rights defender.





https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/01/17/iran-une-repression-implacable (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/ar/news/2019/01/17/325879 (ARABIC)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2019/01/17/iran-la-implacable-represion (ESPANOL)


Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text


Argentina/Israel/Iran: Jewish National Fund and KKL to Unveil Special Monument in Memory of Alberto Nisman

January 13, 2019

The KKL-JNF (Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund) will inaugurate a monument in memory of Alberto Nisman, the Special Prosecutor murdered while investigating the 1994 car bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Center by Hezbollah terrorists.

Among those attending the ceremony will be: Knesset Chairman, MK Yuli Edelstein, Argentinean Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Mr. Mariano Caucino, KKL-JNF World Chairman, Mr. Daniel Atar, KKL-JNF Vice Chairman, Mr. Hernán Felman, and AMIA President, Mr. Agustin Igdal Zbar

On the fourth anniversary of his tragic death, Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF; http://www.kkl-jnf.org/) will unveil the monument built in Alberto Nisman’s honor in a formal ceremony with officials from both Israel and Argentina.

The ceremony will take place on Friday, January 18th, 2019, at 10:00 at the Israel-Argentina Friendship Forest, Ben Shemen Forest (http://www.kkl-jnf.org/tourism-and-recreation/forests-and-parks/ben-shemen-forest.aspx).

Alberto Nisman was the leading prosecutor in charge of the investigation into the terrorist attack on the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 which claimed the lives of 85 people,  and he accused the Argentinian authorities of having covered up Iran’s involvement in it.

In 2015, just hours before he was due to testify before the Argentinian Congress, he was found dead at his home. Although the mystery of his death has never been solved, the presumption is that he was shot in the head in the course of a murderous assault that was disguised to look like suicide.

“He felt a personal, not just a professional responsibility to defend the Jewish People,” said Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado, Nisman’s former partner. “He gave his life in the quest for justice for the victims of terrorism.”





https://www.infobae.com/sociedad/2019/01/13/este-viernes-inauguraran-un-monumento-en-homenaje-al-fiscal-alberto-nisman-en-israel/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.perfil.com/noticias/politica/el-gobierno-israeli-asegura-que-nisman-fue-asesinado-por-su-investigacion.phtml (ESPANOL)

https://www.rosario3.com/noticias/Por-que-Pablo-Duggan-dice-que-el-homicidio-de-Nisman-es-una-falsa-noticia–20190115-0021.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.clarin.com/politica/departamento-murio-nisman-venta-encuentran-comprador_0_fYBrXLkRK.html (ESPANOL)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Nisman (FRANCAIS)

Iran: Prominent Civil Rights Activist Held Incommunicado In Prison

January 14, 2019

Nasrin Sotoudeh, prominent human rights defender jailed for five years. File photo

The prominent Iranian civil rights activists and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh has once again been held incommunicado in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, her husband Reza Khandan disclosed in an interview with Radio Farda January 13.

“The prison authorities have held Nasrin incommunicado, after finding a small pair of scissors in her personal effects,” Khandan reported.

Reza Khandan, who was recently released from Evin after months in custody, also told Radio Farda that because of the negligence of the prison authorities, the inmates have recently been forced to personally procure their foodstuff.

According to Mr. Khandan, Evin’s authorities have decided to increase their pressure on female inmates to prevent leaks concerning the conditions in the prison.

Sotoudeh, 55, is the winner of numerous prestigious international awards, including PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write (2011), Southern Illinois University School of Law Rule of Law Citation (2011) AND Sakharov Prize (2012)

On 21 September 2018, she was also awarded the annual tribute for a lawyer, the 23rd Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize initially bestowed on Nelson Mandela in 1986 when in jail.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, outspoken opponent of the death penalty and compulsory hijab has been sentenced to five years prison.









https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1397/10/nasrin-sotoudeh-visitation-ban/?fbclid=IwAR0al_UAFwjijb1Se9Yu2Eyo9vqLtc00tylFDka70lOGxs7TG-kxFv6XfOo (FARSI)

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/29707543.html (FARSI)



Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text

Iran: Iranian intelligence tortured Kurdish lawyer in Urmia

January 11, 2019

Two days after the arrest of Masoud Shamsnejad, a lawyer and university professor, the ANF has acquired details of his torture by the Iranian intelligence agents.

One of the relatives of Masoud Shamsnejad told the Firat News Agency (ANF) that the lawyer, blindfolded and handcuffed, was transferred to the intelligence detention center in Urmia’s Daneshkadeh Street and has been tortured during the past two days. The source noted that Shamsnejad’s wife and three children have been visiting the intelligence detention center in Urmia on January 9-10, 2019. After rejecting the visits, the intelligence officers threatened Shamsnejad’s wife not to talk to anyone about his situation.

The source who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the ANF that intelligence agents threatened the three young children of the lawyer, Serok, Serhat and Serhildan, on Thursday’s visit to the intelligence office that they should not speak about their father with anyone. Iranian intelligence agents in Urmia have warned Shamsnejad’s family that they would be ‘severely hurt’ should a news regarding him be spread.







Iran: Release on bail of Mr. Reza Khandan

January 7, 2019


OMCT logo

New information
IRN 001 / 0119 / OBS 002
Release on bail /
Judicial harassment

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the release on bail of Mr. Reza Khandan, a human rights defender known for having raised concerns on Facebook about human rights violations in Iran, including the imprisonment of human rights defenders and the prosecution of women who have campaigned against the imposition of the hijab. Mr. Khandan also campaigned for the release of his wife, Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, one of Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyers, who was arrested on June 13, 2018[1].

According to the information received, on December 23, 2018, Mr. Reza Khandan was provisionally released on a ‘personal guarantee’[2].

This followed a court hearing that was attended by Mr. Reza Khandan on December 19, 2018, at Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran. During the hearing, the Court agreed to change Mr. Khandan’s financial bail to a personal guarantee. Mr. Khandan is still facing charges of “gathering and colluding against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code), “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code), and propagating and promoting disregard for hijab in the society.

Following Mr. Khandan’s release, medical doctor and human rights defender Mr. Farhad Mayssami and Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, who remain detained in Tehran’s Evin prison, ended their hunger strike. Mr. Farhad Mayssami had been on hunger strike since August 1, 2018 and received intravenous fluid against his will[3]. Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh had been on hunger strike since November 26, 2018, to express solidarity with Mr. Mayssami.

The Observatory welcomes the release on bail of Mr. Reza Khandan, but recalls that he should never have been incarcerated in the first place. The Observatory calls on Iranian authorities to end all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Reza Khandan and all human rights defenders in the country.








Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text

Iran/UK: Society calls for release of hijab protestors’ lawyer

January 2, 2019

Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text

The Law Society of England and Wales has renewed its call for the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The 55-year-old lawyer was detained in June 2018 after agreeing to defend women arrested for demonstrating against Iran’s hijab laws.

In a letter to the head of the country’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Chancery Lane repeats concerns raised in a protest sent with other bar associations last August against Sotoudeh’s detention in connection with her legitimate rights as an attorney.

The letter notes that Iran has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which obliges states to ensure that lawyers are free to carry out professional duties. It calls on the authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Sotoudeh, withdraw all charges against her, vacate any convictions imposed in her absence and without notice to her, and put an end to all acts of harassment against her;
  • Ensure that all authorities strictly comply with and act in accordance with the due process rights of Ms. Sotoudeh guaranteed by the UN covenant;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Iran enjoy and carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment; and to now.

According to latest reports by Iranian human rights organisations, Sotoudeh had been due to go on trial on unknown charges on 23 December.










https://www.dw.com/de/d%C3%BCstere-stimmung-im-iran-durch-us-politik/a-46783333 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.dw.com/es/la-pol%C3%ADtica-de-sanciones-de-estados-unidos-genera-m%C3%A1s-opresi%C3%B3n-en-ir%C3%A1n/a-46910394 (ESPANOL)


Iran/The Philippines/Pakistan etc: Jailing Attorneys For Doing Their Jobs

December 31, 2018

In many countries, lawyers, targeted by police and government agents, are jailed and even murdered for doing the same work we do.

Every job involves working with people you like and some you don’t like.

As criminal defense attorneys, not only do we have to deal with snarling judges and smug prosecutors, but also with clients who present a gamut of challenges like anger issues, poor impulse control, volatile personalities, mental illness, poverty, and limited intelligence.  To make matters worse, our job is to help them at their nadir when they face criminal charges and imminent loss of liberty.

Some clients are hostile and untrusting.  Yet even when there’s hostility between the lawyer and his client, that doesn’t mean the lawyer can get off the case.  In one recent example, the New York Appellate Division found that even where the defendant and his attorney were openly hostile, the lawyer could not be relieved because the hostility was “unjustified toward his competent attorney.”  (People v. Ventura, 1st Department)

In other words, no matter how unpleasant a client may be to his lawyer, that lawyer might still have to stay on the case.  I suppose judges think the client is just as likely to treat the next attorney the same way, so rather than forestall the adjudication of the case indefinitely, the attorney assigned keeps the tough defendant.

I’ve rarely had clients so nasty I asked to be relieved.  I think it’s all a matter of approach, but in the couple of times it’s happened, I managed.  After all, tough clients go with the territory. They’re annoying but not fatal.

Lawyers in less democratic parts of the world have it a lot worse.  Their clients can be tough, too, but they have another fear — the government itself.  In many countries, lawyers, targeted by police and government agents, are jailed and even murdered for doing the same work we do.

In Manila, Philippines, last fall, 56-year-old attorney Benjamin Ramos was killed by motorcycle-riding shooters on his way out of the office.  His crime was helping poor people and political prisoners.