Crackdown on Defense Lawyers in Iran: Amirsalar Davoudi Not Heard From Since Arrest
Davoudi Eighth Human Rights Attorney to Be Jailed in Iran in Last Six Months
Editor’s Update: A one-month detention order has been issued against Amirsalar Davoudi, his lawyer, Vahid Moshkani Farahani, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 3, 2018.
Farahani added that his client had been charged with “propaganda against the state.”
“His current detention is in connection with two cases brought against him by the Shahid Moghaddas Court in Evin Prison in 2017,” said the attorney.
“He is being held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison and undergoing interrogation,” added Farahani. “Unfortunately we do not have access to his case file and no one is responding to our inquiries. Only his wife has been able to talk to him on the phone a few times for a few minutes.”
Lawyer and civil rights activist Amirsalar Davoudi has not been heard from since his arrest by the judiciary’s security agents on November 20, 2018, a source close to him informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on November 28th.
Davoudi is the eighth human rights attorney to be sent to prison in Iran in the last six months.
“It’s not clear where he’s being held but because he was detained by the judiciary’s security wing, he’s probably in Ward 241 in Evin Prison,” said the source who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals by state forces for speaking to a foreign media outlet.
The security agents also searched Davoudi’s home and office and took away some of his personal belongings. He had been taken in for questioning on previous occasions and had been warned not to inform the public about politically sensitive cases, the source added.
The 27-year-old lawyer has defended many human rights activists in Iranian courts and runs a Telegram channel for Iranian lawyers, “Without Retouch,” which focuses on civil rights issues. The channel has not been updated since November 21.
Davoudi is the fourth know defense lawyer currently behind bars in Iran for performing his legal work.
Three other imprisoned attorneys—Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Keykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh Sa’di—were all jailed over the spring and summer of 2018.
Two other attorneys jailed this year, Payam Derafshan and Farrokh Forouzan, were released on bail.
In addition to arresting defense attorneys, Iran’s judiciary has issued a list of 20 state-approved lawyers that detainees accused of “national security crimes”—the type of charge that’s usually issued against activists and dissidents—must choose from for legal representation.
The consequences of this assault on the legal profession in Iran are dire for attorneys and their clients: lawyers are sent to prison for defending their clients, and those whom they would represent are held for extended periods without charge, often forced to make false statements during interrogations, tried in brief trials where evidentiary standards do not meet international standards, and sent to prison by hardline judges handpicked to rule on “national security” cases for terms that can exceed 10 years.
“Iran’s locking up and flogging of attorneys for trying to defend their clients is an outrageous violation of all international standards regarding the right to counsel,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of CHRI.
“The international community should forcefully condemn this unlawful behavior and demand the release of these attorneys,” he said.