Detained Defense Attorney to Be Tried on Four Charges for Peaceful Activities
At Least Three Lawyers Currently Imprisoned in Iran
Detained defense attorney Amirsalar Davoudi is facing four charges for running a Telegram app channel for lawyers in Iran and giving interviews to foreign news organizations, attorney Vahid Farahani told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on April 16, 2019.
Two of the charges brought by Branch 1 of the court of Evin Prison are “propaganda against the state” and “insulting officials.”
The other two, brought by Branch 2 of the prison’s court, are “collaborating with an enemy state through an interview with Voice of America’s television channel” and “forming a group to overthrow the state.”
“All the charges are based on what he wrote on Without Retouch, a Telegram channel Mr. Davoudi managed before his arrest, as well as his interviews with a television network operating outside Iran,” Farahani said.
“I have been given permission to study the file against my client and I was able to meet him [in prison] on one occasion for two hours,” he said.
The state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) had previously quoted Davoudi’s attorney stating that the case had been sent to be tried at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran presided by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, who is notorious for issuing lengthy sentences in politically sensitive cases. No date has been scheduled.
Farahani also told IRNA that the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security” had been dropped against Davoudi’s wife, Tannaz Kolahchian. It is not clear on what basis she was charged.
Agents of the judiciary’s security and intelligence center arrested Davoudi—a 27-year-old civil rights activist who has been retained as counsel by several detainees held on politically motivated charges in Iran—in his office on November 20, 2018.
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.
Davoudi is the third known defense lawyer currently behind bars in Iran for performing his legal work.
Prominent defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence (she was sentenced to 33.8 years in prison and 148 lashes but her sentence will be reduced according to Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code).
Fellow defense attorney and civil rights activist Mohammad Najafi is currently serving a three-year prison sentence and facing a total of 19 years behind bars.
In addition to defense attorneys being detained in Iran for peacefully doing their jobs, detainees held on politically motivated charges are being forced to choose their counsel from a list of state-approved lawyers.