Iran Protests: Lawyers Call for Fact-Finding Commission, Referendum
A group of prominent Iranian lawyers has called for international action amid nationwide protests that erupted in Iran on September 16, 2022, following the death in state custody of Mahsa Amini, and which have been centered around advancing social and political change.
The lawyers’ statement comes on the heels of news confirmed by the Center for Human Rights in Iran that at least four defense attorneys have been arbitrarily arrested in the country as state forces continue to crack down on the protests: Mahsa Gholamalizadeh, Saeid Jalilian, Milad Panahipour, and Babak Paknia.
The Iranian government has taken several steps in recent years to further limit detainees’ access to internationally recognized standards of due process, including by arresting and imprisoning lawyers to prevent them from criticizing state policies and providing counsel to detainees.
The lawyers’ full statement, translated by IranWire, has been published below.
The Iranian people are currently under the harshest state-backed repression by the Islamic Republic at the same time as internet access has been restricted. The international community cannot and should not remain silent and indifferent.
According to history and experience there is no hope for rational behavior by the Islamic Republic again in the face of the general will of the people. Us lawyers, in the course of fulfilling our legal and human responsibilities, strongly condemn the illegal and subhuman behavior of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and fully support the protest movement of the Iranian people. We impress upon those in receipt of this statement our proposals, and request of immediate action:
The United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the program of repression and killings in Iran by immediately forming a fact-finding commission; The United Nations, while realizing the guarantee of the implementation of existing international mechanisms, to prepare the ground for holding of a referendum in Iran’ Democratic governments in free countries, instead of insisting on negotiations with the authoritarian, repressive government of the Islamic Republic, to at once recall their ambassadors from Iran and recognize that delaying this action may be considered complicity against the people of Iran; Lawyers around the world, with the help of domestic and international legal associations and human rights organizations, to form an international committee for the defense of detainees to prevent the violation of prisoners’ human rights.
We ask all lawyers and lawyers’ associations around the world to join this group and help attain these humanitarian aims.