10 November 2023
Joint Statement: Bar Associations and International Lawyers’ Organisations Call for the Protection of Lawyers in Iran
The impending trial of Nazanin Salari, Mahmoud Taravat-Ruy, and Masoud Ahmadian in the Shiraz Islamic Revolution Court on November 11 is a stark reminder of the persistent assault on human rights and freedom of expression in Iran. Accused of “cooperation with ‘hostile’ countries,” “assembly and collusion to act against national security,” and “propagandistic activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” these lawyers have become targets of a system that seeks to silence their unwavering commitment to justice and their efforts to advocate for positive change.
Nazanin Salari is a lawyer and a member of the Fars Bar Association. She was also the former Head of the Human Rights Commission at the Fars Bar Association. She is a women’s rights advocate and a human rights activist. She was initially arrested in November 2020 and was charged with “cooperation with ‘hostile’ countries”, “assembly and collusion to act against national security”, and “propagandistic activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran. She was arrested again in November 2022 while peacefully demonstrating in front of the Shiraz Bar Association to show her support for the “Woman, Life, Freedom” national uprising, which was in response to the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl from Saqqez, by the morality police in Tehran. She was then released on bail on 19 November 2022. She was charged with “inciting people to corruption and prostitution” and “appearing in public places without hijab”. The court sessions for these charges were held on the 5th and 7th of November 2023.
Mahmoud Taravat-Ruy is a lawyer, member and former President of the Fars Bar Association. He is a human rights activist and has provided legal counsel for numerous political and conscientious defendants. Mahmoud Taravat-Ruy was initially arrested in November 2020 and was charged with “cooperation with ‘hostile’ countries”, “assembly and collusion to act against national security”, and “propagandistic activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was rearrested in November 2022 during a peaceful gathering in front of the Shiraz Bar Association to show his support for protestors who took to the streets after the death of Jina Mahsa Amini. He was released on bail on 19 November 2022 and charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The court sessions for these charges were held on 5th and 7th of November 2023.
Masoud Ahmadian Asadabadi is a lawyer and member of the Fars Bar Association. He is a human rights activist and an advocate for women’s and children’s rights and has provided legal counsel for many political and conscientious defendants. Mr Ahmadian is representing Mr Taravat-Ruy and Ms Salari in their 2022 cases but was himself also arrested in November 2020 and charged with “cooperation with ‘hostile’ countries”, “assembly and collusion to act against national security”, and “propagandistic activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran” for his human rights work.
The court hearing of these three lawyers will be held on Saturday 11 November 2023 at 8:00 a.m. (Iran Standard Time) at Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz.
Practising as a lawyer, defending human rights, taking part in international scientific and academic meetings and working to improve the law are very often described as criminal activities by the regime. These justifications are used by the state to overlook the human rights violations carried out by the regime. The Ministry of Intelligence’s assertion that these defenders of human rights are criminals is an affront to the principles of justice and equity.
The undersigned organisations stand in solidarity with Nazanin Salari, Mahmoud Taravat-Roui, Masoud Ahmadian, and all the lawyers who fight for human rights and a more just society in Iran.
The undersigned organizations intend to reiterate, with the utmost firmness, to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Basic Principles of the United Nations on the Role of Lawyers, particularly Article 16, which states:
16. Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (…) and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.
The international community must condemn this blatant violation of fundamental rights and call for the immediate cessation of these unjust proceedings. The world is watching, and we will not remain silent in the face of such grave injustice.
- International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
- International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger
- Centre for Supports of Human Rights (CSHR)
- Lawyers for Lawyers
- Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein e. V.
- Defence Commission of the Barcelona Bar Association
- AED – European Democratic Lawyers
- The Hanseatic Bar of Hamburg (Hanseatische Rechtsanwaltskammer Hamburg)
- The German Bar Association
- Geneva Bar Association (Ordre des Avocats Genève)
- The German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK)