Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2002 - Iran

Judicial proceedings against Mr. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah26

Mr. Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer of the Bar of Tehran, appeared before the court of Tehran on 28th January 2002. The President of the Revolutionary Tribunal had filed a complaint against him for libel and false testimony. The complaint was based on a speech which Mr. Dadkhah had made in court in November 2001 in defence of various political prisoners and journalists who were arrested during two round-ups in March and April 2001. Mr. Dadkhah had been expelled by the President of the Revolutionary Tribunal in the course of his defence speech and was therefore unable to carry out the defence of his clients until the end of the trial.

On 20th May 2002, Mr. Dadkhah was sentenced to 5 months' imprisonment and banned from practising law for ten years. The lawsuit took place behind closed doors, which raises fears that Mr. Dadkhah did not get a fair trial. In December, the sentence was upheld by a court of appeal.

Mr. Nasser Zarafchan's trial27

On 18th March 2002, Mr. Nasser Zarafchan, acting as counsel for Mrs. Sima Pouhandeh, the widow of Mohammed Djafar Pouhandeh (a writer and human rights defender, murdered in 1998), was sentenced to three years in jail by the Military Tribunal of Teheran for "weapons and alcohol possession". He was also sentenced to two years' imprisonment for his statements to the press regarding the lawsuit of the alleged murderers of Iranian intellectuals, which ended in January 2001. Mr. Zarafchan appealed the decision. On 15th July 2002, the court of appeal upheld the Military Tribunal's ruling. Mr. Zarafchan was arrested on 7th August and is now in prison in Evin. He appealed against this second ruling to the Supreme Court. His lawyer has requested that the sentence be suspended due to Mr. Zarafchan's poor state of health. The appeal is still pending.

Mr. Soltani's sentence28

On 9 July 2002, Mr. Soltani was sentenced to four months' prison by the court of Tehran and is banned from practising law for five years. Mr. Soltani represented a dozen political prisoners in March 2002. The main charge against him is that he claimed in his defence speeches that his clients had suffered from ill treatment while being interrogated. His own lawyer, Mr. Seyfzadeh, was sentenced to four months in jail and is banned from practising law for three years. Both lawyers have appealed the rulings. The appeals are still pending.

Mr. Akbar Ganji still in jail29

Mr. Akbar Ganji, a journalist and writer, is still in prison. On 16th July 2001, the first chamber of accusation of the Tehran Appeals Court sentenced him to jail for betrayal of national security and propaganda against the institutions of the Islamic State. The sentence referred to a series of articles that suggested the Iranian regime's involvement in the murder of intellectuals opposing it. Moreover, Mr. Ganji participated in a conference on the Iranian general election, which took place in Berlin on 7th and 8th April 1998.

Judicial proceedings against Ms. Chirin Ebadi and Mr. Mohsen Rohami30

In 2000, Ms. Chirin Ebadi, a lawyer and chairperson of a children's rights NGO, and Mr. Mohsen Rohami, a lawyer, were given a suspended sentence of fifteen months' imprisonment and deprived of their civil rights on the charge of libelling the authorities. They appealed the ruling. The procedure was still pending at the end of 2002. The sentences referred to the fact that they defended the students who were attacked by police forces on the campus of the University of Teheran in July 1999.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

26. See Urgent Appeals IRN 001/0102/OBS 007 and IRN 001/0102/OBS 007.01.

27. See Annual Reports 2000 and 2001, Urgent Appeals IRN 004/0012/OBS 125.1 to OBS 125.5.

28. See Urgent Appeal IRN 002/0702/OBS 041.

29. See Annual Report 2001.

30. See Annual Report 2001.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.