The Law Society of England and Wales has called on the Iranian government to stop all executions, uphold the right to a fair trial, and halt the arrest, detention, prosecution and ill-treatment of lawyers in Iran.
The organisation’s deputy vice-president Richard Atkinson said: “There is an almost complete lack of access to legal representation of one’s choice for anyone arrested and charged in connection with protests in Iran.
“Protestors’ confessions have been obtained by coercion and torture and used as evidence against them.
“There is ample evidence the regime is not upholding fair-trial guarantees for people who are prosecuted,” Atkinson stated.
He added that most protestors were being allocated a state-approved lawyer.
“Families of people being represented by these lawyers say they don’t mount a proper defence, charge extortionate fees, and are directed by judges or security forces. Protestors’ own lawyers are denied access to the courtroom,” Atkinson said.
He stated that four people had been executed since December 2022, with a further 20 sentenced to death, while up to 100 faced charges that carried the death penalty.
The society says that it has information about 66 lawyers who have been arrested and detained in Iran since protests began to spread in September 2022. It states that 11 of these lawyers have now been sentenced, and 47 have been released on bail.
The solicitors’ body has been able to verify the detention location of seven lawyers, but it says that there is “conflicting or no information” about the whereabouts of several others.
‘Threatened and intimidated’
The organisation is also aware of reports that the Ministry of Intelligence summoned and threatened the lawyers representing the family of Mahsa (Jina) Amini in the case concerning her death. The ministry reportedly banned these lawyers from interviews with the media and otherwise discussing the case.
Richard Atkinson concluded: “There are indications the Iranian regime is prosecuting lawyers to deter them from providing legal assistance to protestors and others. We have also had numerous reports of lawyers being threatened and intimidated by the authorities.
“Access to a legal representative is a right established in Iranian law, as well as in international law, and must be respected and guaranteed.”