Iranian lawyers must be released immediately
The Law Society of England and Wales, together with Lawyers for Lawyers, calls on the Iranian government to halt the arbitrary arrest, detention and ill treatment of lawyers, who play a vital role in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights.
Nationwide protests in Iran began on 16 September, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in a hospital in Tehran after being arrested by the Guidance Patrol (also known as the morality police) for wearing an “improper hijab.”
Protesters are being arrested and detained in their thousands without being allowed access to a legal representative.
Lawyers themselves are being violently arrested, transported to prisons, and ill-treated.
The Law Society is especially concerned about the welfare of a number of lawyers.
Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “Some of these lawyers are being held in solitary confinement, at notorious prison wards known for incidents of torture, or their whereabouts are unknown.
“No charges have been brought or published against them and they have had no access to a lawyer or visits from relatives.
“Access to a legal representative is a right established in Iranian law, as well as international law, and has to be respected and guaranteed.”
The arrest and detention of these lawyers are the latest incidents in the continuing crackdown on lawyers. Over the last five years, Iranian authorities have prosecuted, convicted and detained many, including lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, for their peaceful opposition to compulsory hijab laws.
Lubna Shuja added: “To fulfil their professional duties effectively, lawyers should be able to practise their profession safely and should be free from improper interference and fear of reprisals.
“This widespread arrest of lawyers makes legal representation impossible. It prevents the functioning of administration of justice and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The Law Society calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all lawyers who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and drop any charges against them, as well as to ensure their psychological and physical integrity pending such release.”
Notes to editors
Lawyers for Lawyers are a non-political and independent organisation. They stand up for colleagues when their right to practise their profession is under threat. Find out more.
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