Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights
Urgent Interventions

Judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of several human rights lawyers

IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115

Arbitrary detention /

Releaseon bail /


14, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requestsyour urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of HumanRights in Iran (LDDHI) about a series of recent acts of judicial harassment andarbitrary detention targeting several lawyers for taking up human rights casesand representing other human rights lawyers prosecuted for their work.

According to the information received, onSeptember 8, 2018, Messrs. Payam Derafshan and FarrokhForouzan-Kermani, who had been arrested on August 31, 2018[1],were released on bail of 110 million tomans and 120 million tomans respectively, afterbeing charged with “insulting judicial authorities”.

Mr. Derafshan is one ofthe lawyers for imprisoned human rights lawyer Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh aswell as of lawyers Messrs.Mohammad Najafi and Arash Kaykhosravi. He had also previously represented the family of Mr. Kavous Seyed-Emamiand filed a complaint against the State-owned Islamic Republic ofIran Broadcasting (IRIB) forairing a film in which Mr. Seyed-Emami was portrayed as a spy.

On September 2, 2018, Mr. Mohammad HosseinAqassi was threatened with detention during the first court hearing of anintellectual property rights case against the nationalradio and TV IRIB, in which he isrepresenting Mr. Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a prominent singer of Iraniantraditional music.

On July 26, 2018, the Criminal Court Branch 102in Arak, Markazi Province, sentenced Mr. Mohammad Najafi to a total ofthree years of custodial imprisonment, including two years for “publishing liesand disturbing the public opinion” and one year and 74 lashes for “disrupting[public] order”. Mr. Najafi will appeal this first instance decision. The chargeswere related to Mr. Najafi’ acting as a defence lawyer in the case of the deathof a protester in police custody in January 2018 in Arak. Mr. Najafi wasrepresented by Mr. Arash Kaykhosravi in addition to Mr. Derafshan. Mr.Najafi has been detained several times before, the last time being from January15, 2018 to April, 17, 2018, in relation to the above-mentioned case.

On July 26, 2018, Mr. MostafaTork-Hamedani disclosed that he had been summoned by the Office of theProsecutor for Culture and Media for questioning and accused of “spreadingfalse information”. The accusations are related to tweets he published about university professor and environmental activist Mr. KavousSeyed-Emami, who died while in custody of the IslamicRevolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his criticism of the judiciary forbarring him and other defence lawyers from defending environmental activists.Mr. Tork-Hamedani was not detained following the questioning and it is notknown if any charges have been or will be lodged against him.

On July 10, 2018, Mr. HosseinAhmadi-Niaz was summoned for questioning by the Islamic Revolution CourtBranch 4 of Sanandaj (the capital of Kurdistan Province) after signing an openletter criticising the Head of the Judiciary for exerting restrictions onthousands of lawyers in national security-related cases. Mr. Ahmadi-Niaz wasnot detained following the questioning, but it is not known if any charges havebeen or will be raised against him. Recently, Mr. Ahmadi-Niaz represented Mr. Ramin Hosseinpanahi,an Iranian Kurdish political prisoner who was executed along with two otherKurdish political prisoners on September 8, 2018.

On July 8,2018, Mr. Mostafa Daneshju(aka Daneshjoo) was arrested by armed securityforces who broke down the door of his mother’s home in Tehran. Security forcespresented an arrest warrant from Branch 3 of the Prosecutor’s Office based inEvin prison. After spending 45 days in solitary confinement in Ward 209, he wastransferred to Evin prison’s Quarantine Ward before being taken to Ward 4.Although the authorities have not provided any reasons for Mr. Daneshju’sarrest, he is believed to be detained based on a case brought against him inlate 2017 or early 2018, the exact date and details of which are not available.Mr. Daneshju is suffering from cardiac problems and asthma, and authorities aredenying him proper medical care. On July 21, 2018, Mr. Daneshju was taken toTaleqani hospital and returned to prison without receiving care. Over theyears, Mr. Daneshju has defended numerous Gonabadi Dervishes and served severalprison terms. He had last been released in May 2015[2].

The Observatory recalls that at least five otherhuman rights lawyers, Mr. Arash Kaykhosravi, Mr. GhasemSholeh-Saadi[3], Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, Ms. Hoda Amid and Ms. NasrinSotoudeh[4], also remain in arbitrary detention.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concernabout the ongoing wave of arrests, detentions, and acts of judicial harassmentagainst human rights lawyers, which appear to be aimed at punishing them fortheir legitimate human rights activities, and urges the Iranian authorities to immediately andunconditionally release all the above-mentioned detained human rights lawyersand to guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychologicalintegrity.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i.Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Mostafa Daneshju, Arash Kaykhosravi, Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, Abdolfattah Soltani, Ms. Hoda Amid, and Ms.Nasrin Sotoudeh as well as all human rightsdefenders arbitrarily detained in Iran;

ii.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity ofMessrs. Mostafa Daneshju, Hossein Ahmadi-Niaz, Mohammad Najafi, MostafaTork-Hamedani, Payam Derafshan, Farrokh Forouzan-Kermani, Mohammad HosseinAqassi, Arash Kaykhosravi, Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, Abdolfattah Soltani, Ms. Hoda Amid, and Ms.Nasrin Sotoudeh and all human rightsdefenders in Iran;

iii. Putan end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstMessrs. Mostafa Daneshju, Hossein Ahmadi-Niaz, Mohammad Najafi, MostafaTork-Hamedani, Payam Derafshan, Farrokh Forouzan-Kermani, Mohammad HosseinAqassi, Arash Kaykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, Abdolfattah Soltani, Ms. Hoda Amid, and Ms. NasrinSotoudeh as well as all human rights defendersarbitrarily detained in the country;

iv.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on HumanRights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;

v. Ensurein all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Iran.


• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah SayedAli Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email:; Twitter:@khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811;Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir(Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Islamic Republic ofIran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: / /
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran,Fax: +98-21-66743149;
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed JavadLarijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
• H.E. Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of theIslamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 7330203, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels,Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respectivecountries.


Paris-Geneva, September 14, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

[1] See Observatory PressRelease, September 5, 2018.

[2] See Observatory PressRelease, July 22, 2013.

[3] See Observatory UrgentAppeal IRN 003 / 0818 / OBS 106, August 23, 2018.

[4] See Observatory UrgentAppeal IRN 001 / 0618 / OBS 085, June 15, 2018.

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