URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115.3
April 19, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inIran.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi and the sentencing and re-arrest of Mr. Mohammad Najafi. Both of them are human rights lawyers.
According to the information received on April 16, 2019, Branch 2 of the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran’s Evin prison issued an indictment against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi on charges of “cooperating with hostile governments through giving interviews to VOA” (purportedly under Article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “establishing a group to overthrow the system” (Article 498). The case was referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran. It is believed that the second charge is linked to Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi’ creation of a public channel called “withoutretouch” on the messaging application Telegram, on which he reported news and events regarding lawyers and the Bar Association. This channel was also used to share personal opinions on various topics including objections to the detention of lawyers such as Ms. Nasrin Sotoudehand Messrs. Arash Kaykhosraviand Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, and other lawyers, as well as occasional statements critical of the actions of the Supreme Leader and the former Head of the Judiciary. Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi has been detained in Evin prison since November 20, 2018 (see background information).
Moreover, the Observatory has received reliable information that the Court of Appeals in Arak, Markazi Province, upheld the conviction and prison sentence issued by Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Arak against Mr. Mohammad Najafi on November 26, 2018 (see background information): one year imprisonment for “spreading propaganda in favour of groups and organisations opposed to the system” (purportedly under Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code), two years imprisonment for “insulting the leader of the Islamic Republic” (Article 514) and ten years imprisonment for “co-operating with hostile governments by transmitting news and information in interviews” (purportedly under Article 508) through interviews he gave to Voice of America, Radio Farda, and BBC Persian Service. Under the provisions of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Mr. Najafi will likely have to serve these sentences concurrently, i.e. up to 10 years in prison.
Mr. Mohammad Najafi was arrested on April 1, 2019 to serve his sentence and is currently detained in Arak prison.
The Observatory notes that Mr. Mohammad Najafi was released from Arak prison in Markazi Province under an amnesty on March 28, 2019. He was serving a three-year sentence related to his defence work in the case of the death of a protester in police custody in January 2018 in Arak (see background information).
The Observatory recalls that several other human rights lawyers are currently detained for exercising their profession or for defending human rights, including Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Messrs. Farhad Mohammadi and Massood Shamsnejad. Others were arrested and released on bail and are still awaiting the outcome of their case.