January 14, 2019
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.
January 2, 2019
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.
Event Type: Seminar
Venue: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
Cost: No charge
Overview SRA Competencies: A1, C3
Since 2010, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is organised to draw attention to the situation of lawyers at risk in a particular country. In 2019, the focus will be on Turkey, because of the widespread arrests, detentions, and dismissals of members of the legal profession in the country – especially since the attempted coup in 2016.
This seminar, organised jointly by the Law Society and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, will focus on the circumstances that lawyers in Turkey face (pre and post the failed coup), the enactment of emergency decree laws, the lack of admissibility of Turkish cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), specifics of litigating Turkish cases before the ECtHR, trial observation in Turkey, and advocacy efforts.
Welcome by Christina Blacklaws, president, Law Society
Ozlem Zingil, lawyer, Turkey
Achilleas Demetriades, applicant’s lawyer in Loizidou v. Turkey, and other ECtHR cases
Tony Fisher, chair, Law Society Human Rights Committee
Natacha Bracq, programme lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
Concluding remarks by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, director, IBA Human Rights Institute
December 10, 2018
Lawyers must never be persecuted for defending human rights, the Law Society of England has said to mark International Human Rights Day.
Christina Blacklaws, president of the society, said that in many parts of the world lawyers were hindered from carrying out their professional duties because of the cases they worked on or clients they represented.
“Seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, laws that should provide the framework for safer, fairer societies are being hijacked in efforts to prevent lawyers and human rights defenders doing their work,” she said.
Ms Blacklaws, who leads the body that represents solicitors, said that in many countries around the world, lawyers’ lives “are at risk – even lost – for defending the human rights of others”.
November 19, 2018
An Iranian lawyer who raised questions about the death in custody of a young client has himself been sentenced to three years in prison – with 74 lashes. According to pressure group the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Mohammad Najafi has been sentenced for ‘disturbing the state’ and ‘publishing falsehoods’ after advocating for a young client who died in police detention.
Najafi began his sentence in the western city of Arak on 28 October.
In January 2018, he had told media outlets about the case of Vahid Heydari, 22. He had suggested that the authorities were trying to cover up the real reason for Heydari’s death by claiming he had committed suicide.
Officially the judiciary are responsible for ensuring the safety and well being of detainees held in state custody but no one has been investigated or held responsible for the death. Instead Judge Ghasem Abdollahi of the Appeals Court in Markazi Province upheld the three-year prison sentences and 74 lashes for Najafi and activists Ali Bagheri and Abbas Safari.
‘I have been a lawyer and writer for years and during this time I have been repeatedly charged and acquitted,’ Najafi said in May this year. ‘The authorities themselves have told me that they are trying to grind me into oblivion.’
Najafi’s lawyer has filed a complaint with the Iranian Supreme Court.
The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran describes itself as an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization working to protect and promote human rights in Iran. The group has also raised new concerns about imprisoned defence lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, saying she has been barred from receiving visits from her children and other family members in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
September 18, 2018
Three international law associations have urged United Nations (UN), enter into urgent dialogue with the Turkish government with a view to ending the persecution and prosecution of legal professionals in the country.
The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Law Society of England and Wales have written a 34-page report in relation to breaches of the rights and protections of the legal profession in Turkey and submitted Diego García-Sayán, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on Tuesday in Geneva.
The report entitled “International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey” which was submitted to the UN related to human rights violations which have occurred and are occurring since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and examines the position post the ending of the State of Emergency in Turkey.
“Primarily, new laws place in a statutory framework the pre-existing threats to the independence of the legal profession, including arbitrary arrest and detention, dismissals, and breaches of the right to a fair trial and due process,” said the international law associations in their joint letter in which they presented the report to UN’s García-Sayán.
International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey