Iran: Call for the release of human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah

Re: Call for the release of human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah

To: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Akbar Salehi; Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mohammed Javad Larijani; H.E. Mr. Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, Ambassador

From: Hugh Gwillim, LRWC

Date: October 9, 2012

Lawyers’ Rights Watch of Canada (LRWC) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. LRWC submits that the conviction and sentencing of Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is arbitrary and is an attempt to silence his legitimate human rights activities.

Mr. Dadkhah is a prominent human rights lawyer in Iran and is a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre. He was originally arrested at his law offices in July, 2009 on charges of keeping weapons, opium, and documents evidencing alleged links with foreign enemies. Mr. Dadkhah never admitted to possessing these items and was released on bail in September, 2009. On May 21, 2011, Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Mr. Dadkhah on charges of “assembly and collusion to overthrow the Islamic system,” and “actions and propaganda against the Islamic system.” A sentence of nine years imprisonment was imposed as well as a ten year ban on practicing law and teaching, five lashes, and a fine of three million rials.

Upon appeal, Mr. Dadkhah was informed on April 28, 2012 that his sentencing had been upheld in full. On September 29, 2012, he was admitted to Evin Prison to serve out his sentence.

The sentencing and imprisonment of Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is in clear contravention of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, specifically:

Article 1: Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.

Article 12.2: The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.

LRWC calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to abide by the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, which states that lawyers must be allowed to carry out their work “without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.” It also expressly recognizes that lawyers are entitled to freedom of expression, which includes “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.”

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada calls for the arbitrary arrests, prosecutions, and sentencings to cease immediately. We urge you to provide a response.

Write to LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax to advise us of your actions to do the following:

  • Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah;
  • Drop all charges against Mr. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and release him immediately and unconditionally, as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;
  • Allow Mr. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah to return to his work as a lawyer; and
  • Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.