We, the lawyers of the Centre for the Supporters of Human Rights, while welcoming the release of our dear and esteemed colleague, Ms Nasrin Sotudeh, from prison, would like to emphasize that a number of our other colleagues still remain in jail, and we are seeking the unconditional release of all of them.
Within the judicial systems of all countries of the world, the institutionalization of respect for human rights, the securing of the right to freely defend every client, and making sure that everyone is able to have a fair judicial hearing, and… [all ellipses in the text appear in the original Farsi version] are goals and aspirations which undoubtedly require the tireless and relentless endeavours and efforts of every member of the society. However, achieving these objectives and consolidating them in the judicial systems of different countries is a battle arena which attracts the profession of lawyers in particular more than any other group in the society. This is because after all, lawyers, because of the nature and essence of their profession, not only are in constant and close contact and liaison with the judicial and executive organs in the country, but in addition, due to their close relationship and contact with the individuals who are directly affected by these issues and processes [meaning the clients the lawyers defend], the lawyers are able to have a very good grasp and understanding of the problems and hardships which are the result of injustice or disregard for human rights in the society. The specialized knowledge and skill of defence lawyers is one of the most effective instruments available for putting up defence against injustice, and the lawyers endeavour to rely on this particular instrument in order to pave the way for achieving greater justice and ensure fair and just legal proceedings for everyone. It is precisely because of this that under the rule of states which violate human rights, as a rule, independent lawyers and the defenders and supporters of human rights are always facing insults and slander, and in addition, they are suffering from threats, arrests, detentions, imprisonments, being forced to leave the country, and …
As the reports by the international organizations and also several resolutions by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations clearly testify, the Islamic Republic of Iran is among the countries of the world which violate the human rights, and in Iran, the judicial apparatus lacks the necessary knowledge as well as the required will and commitment to ensure fair judicial proceedings and guarantee the right to enjoy legal defence, particularly for those facing accusations because of their political activities or ideological beliefs. Furthermore, in Iran, defence lawyers supporting and advocating human rights do not enjoy any security and freedom to fulfil their professional duties and tasks, as well as their social and moral obligations and their mission to defend the victims of violations of human rights.
Throughout the 34 years history of rule by the Islamic Republic, the defence lawyers championing human rights have always been under political pressures and assault within the framework of the legal and judicial cases they are working on.
However, since the days immediately following the controversial 10th presidential election in Khordad 1388 [June 2009, which resulted in Ahmadinezhad’s second term in office], there has been a dramatic increase in the extent and intensity of the attacks against the lawyers advocating human rights, and these have gone even as far as placing these lawyers on trial based on some dubious cases and under some groundless accusations related to security issues.
Some examples of the inhuman behaviours and actions which have been – and still are being – adapted against the lawyers defending human rights include: Threatening these lawyers with banning them from engaging in their profession as defence attorneys, as well as attempts to level different criminal allegations against them – for instance, accusing them of acting as accomplices in the political crimes that their clients are accused of, simply on the pretext that they are defending these clients. There are many other examples, among which one can mention actions such as insulting these lawyers while they are fulfilling their professional duties; banning travel abroad by some lawyers; forming legal cases against them under the pretext of allegations related to the area of security; forcing these attorneys to leave the country; detaining them for different periods of time, ranging from only a few hours to several months without providing any legal justifications; placing the detained lawyers in solitary confinement or even subjecting them to torture; issuing decrees prohibiting these lawyers from practicing law; and sentencing them to lengthy prison terms, and even sending them into exile in remote towns of Iran with harsh climate – which is something that is quite unprecedented in the social and political history of Iran.
There are many crystal clear and indubitable evidence for the above assertion, and these include the fact that some lawyers continued to be interned in jails (that is to say lawyers such as Amir Eslami, Mostafa Daneshju, Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Seyfzadeh, Mehdi Mo’tamedi Mehr, Mostafa Nili, Farshid Yadollahi, and… ); the fact that more than 50 lawyers have been subjected to criminal legal action after the events of 1388 [2009 presidential election]; and finally the continued unlawful harassment of lawyers by the country’s security and intelligence organs, under a number of empty and groundless pretexts.
For these reasons, we the lawyers of the Centre for the Supporters of Human Rights, while once again emphasizing our demand for the release of all of our imprisoned colleagues, consider guarantees for fair and just legal proceedings as a right for all the citizens of the country. We strongly emphasize the need for the correct implementation of legal procedures, and we firmly believe that fair and equable judicial processes are not going to be possible without an independent judicial system.
The lawyers of the Centre for the Supporters of Human Rights, 2 Mehr 1392 [24 September 2013]
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