Many lawyers arrested in Iran amid protests

Legal regulator calls for a halt to executions, and the release of detainees

Many lawyers arrested in Iran amid protests

Dozens of lawyers have been arrested and detained in Iran since protests began to spread last September, reported the Law Society Gazette.

According to the Gazette, 66 lawyers have been arrested and detained in Iran since protests started, including 11 who have been sentenced, while 47 were released on bail.

“There is an almost complete lack of access to legal representation of one’s choice for anyone arrested and charged in connection with protests in Iran,” said Law Society deputy vice-president Richard Atkinson in the Gazette’s article. “Protestors’ confessions have been obtained by coercion and torture and used as evidence against them.

‘There is ample evidence the regime is not upholding fair trial guarantees for people who are prosecuted. Protestors are mostly being allocated a state-approved lawyer. Families of people being represented by these lawyers say they don’t mount a proper defence, charge extortionate fees, and are directed by judges or security forces. Protestors’ own lawyers are denied access to the courtroom.

“Such sham trials have the worst imaginable outcomes. Four people have been executed since December 2022, a further 20 have been sentenced to death and up to 100 face charges that carry the death penalty. Death sentences have also been issued for setting fire to litter bins and throwing stones.”

Atkinson added that there were indications the Iranian regime is prosecuting lawyers to deter them from providing legal assistance to protestors and others.

“Access to a legal representative is a right established in Iranian law, as well as in international law, and must be respected and guaranteed. This widespread arrest and intimidation of lawyers makes legal representation impossible. It prevents the functioning of the administration of justice and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the many people in detention and facing trial in Iran,” he said.

The Gazette reported that the Law Society is urging the Iranian authorities to:

  • Halt all executions of the death penalty and refrain from imposing such a sentence, including on minors;
  • Ensure access to legal representation of their own choice for all those arrested and detained, including minors and those facing a death sentence;
  • Ensure respect for fair trial guarantees in any proceedings;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all lawyers and human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and drop all charges against them;
  • Pending their release, guarantee the psychological and physical integrity of the lawyers and human rights defenders, and comply with international standards on conditions of detention; and
  • Guarantee that all lawyers and human rights defenders in Iran can carry out their professional activities without intimidation, hindrance or improper interference.

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