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Public Statement: Iran (February 2019)

The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern about the arrest, detention and charges against lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi
 
Toronto, ON — The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern over the arrest, detention and charges against lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi. When reports of serious issues of injustice to lawyers and the judiciary come to our attention, we advocate for the protection of their inalienable human rights.
 
Amir Salar Davoudi is a human rights lawyer in Iran who has represented a number of political prisoners, human rights activists and individuals of religious minority groups.
 
On November 20, 2018, Amir Salar Davoudi was arrested in Tehran, his office and house were searched, and he was placed in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison for some time. On the same day, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a one-month detention order against him.  Credible reports indicate that details of the charges against Mr. Davoudi had not been provided to his lawyer at that time and that Mr. Davoudi had not been able to meet with his client for several weeks since his arrest and detention.
 
On January 21, 2019, Amir Salar Davoudi was charged with “insulting the Leader” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. It is unclear how long Mr. Davoudi faced interrogation at Evin prison and whether he continues to be subject to interrogation. Reports state that his case has been referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
 
According to credible reports, Mr. Davoudi was denied visits from his wife, Tannaz Kolahchian who is also a lawyer, although his parents were permitted to visit him on January 21, 2019. In early January 2019, Ms. Kolahchian faced interrogation at the Prosecutor’s Office on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system”. Reports indicate that her case has been closed.
 
The Law Society of Ontario is seriously concerned by credible reports of Amir Salar Davoudi’s situation and urges Iran to comply with its obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
Article 8 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states:
 
All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials.
 
Article 16 states:
 
Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economics or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.
 
Article 17 states:
 
Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.
 
Furthermore, Article 23 provides:
 
Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization.
 
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
 
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
 
Article 5 states:
 
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
 
Article 9 states:
 
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
 
Article 11 states:
 
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
 
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
 
Moreover, Article 19 states:
 
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
 
The Law Society urges the Government of Iran to:
  1. ensure that Amir Salar Davoudi is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, has regular, unrestricted access to his family, lawyers, and medical care on request and as necessary;
  2. immediately and unconditionally release Amir Salar Davoudi and ensure that he is returned home;
  3. withdraw the charges against Amir Salar Davoudi immediately and unconditionally;
  4. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Amir Salar Davoudi;
  5. guarantee that adequate reparation will be provided to Amir Salar Davoudi if he is found to be a victim of human rights abuses;
  6. ensure that all lawyers are free from arbitrary interference with his/her privacy, family, home or correspondence, and from attacks upon his/her honour and reputation;
  7. ensure that all lawyers and judges in Iran are adequately safeguarded by the authorities such that they are able to carry out their professional duties and activities free from intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference, the threat of criminalization or other human rights violations; and
  8. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.