IRAN: Lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes
Amirsalar Davoudi is an Iranian lawyer who defended several political prisoners and members of religious or ethnic minorities. He was very active on social networks – he notably animated a Telegram channel dedicated to lawyers defending human rights – where he openly expressed his opposition to the Teheran regime.
On November 20th, 2018, he was arrested in his office by intelligence officers. His arrest, as well as the search of both his office and home, was conducted without any warrant. Some of his work documents were confiscated.
On the same day, the prosecutor’s office issued a one-month detention order against Mr Davoudi. His attorney thinks that he is accused of “insult to the Supreme leader”, “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion to act against national security”, as these charges are often used against opponents. Yet, so far authorities have not confirmed the allegations against Mr Davoudi; his case was transferred to the 15th Revolutionary Court, which deals with crimes related to national security.
Mr Davoudi’s conditions of detention are deeply worrisome, as he is kept in isolation since November 20th. Even though the authorities finally revealed his place of detention – which is the Evin prison (Teheran) –, M. Davoudi has not been allowed to receive any visit apart from his parents on January 21st.
He has not been allowed to consult either his lawyer or the prison doctor. Furthermore, local human rights organizations evoke credible evidence of acts of torture.
Mr Davoudi’s arrest is not an isolated case: in November and December 2018, three other Iranian lawyers were condemned to long-term prison sentences for their involvement in human rights protection (Qasem Sholehsadi, Arash Keykhosravi and Mohammad Najafi). According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), the judicial authorities issued a list of 20 state-approved lawyers to which persons accused of “crimes against national security” must resort.
The OIAD expresses its solidarity with M. Davoudi and all the Iranian lawyers who are in jail for having legitimately exercised their profession. Iranian authorities must abide by the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, according to which they must “ensure that lawyers (…) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference” (principle n° 16). The OIAD urges the Iranian authorities to respect the right of every person to “call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice to protect and establish their rights and to defend them in all stages of criminal proceedings” (principle n° 1).
The OIAD also recalls that according to the United Nations’ Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, the latter “shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and (…) the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” (1975), both of which Iran ratified in 1975.