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Public Statement: Iran (May 2019)

The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern about the indictment against lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi 

Toronto, ON — The Law Society of Ontario expresses grave concern over the indictment 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.

 

The Law Society has previously intervened on Amir Salar Davoudi’s behalf after he was arrested, detained and charged for exercising his legitimate professional duties. The human rights violations we outlined in our February 2019 letter have not been addressed. Moreover, credible reports state that an indictment against Amir Salar Davoudi was issued on April 16, 2019.
 
According to credible reports, Branch 2 of the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran’s Evin prison issued an indictment against Amir Salar Davoudi on the charges of “cooperating with hostile governments through giving interviews to Voice of America” and “establishing a group to overthrow the system”. Reports suggest that the second charge is linked to Amir Salar Davoudi’s creation of and activity on a public channel on a messaging application, on which he reported news and events regarding lawyers and the Bar Association.
 
Amir Salar Davoudi has been detained at Evin prison since November 2018. After his arrest, he was charged, on January 21, 2019, with “insulting the Leader” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Credible reports indicate that each of the four charges against Amir Salar Davoudi are based on either his postings on the public channel or the interviews he gave to foreign news agencies.
 
The Law Society is very concerned by credible reports of the indictment against Amir Salar Davoudi 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, economic 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 10 states:
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
 
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. immediately and unconditionally release Amir Salar Davoudi and ensure that he is returned home;
  2. withdraw the charges against Amir Salar Davoudi immediately and unconditionally;
  3. guarantee that adequate reparation will be provided to Amir Salar Davoudi if he is found to be a victim of human rights abuses;
  4. 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
  5. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.