In February this year, Iranian human rights lawyer Javid Houtan Kian was already sentenced to one year in prison and banned for five years from exercising his profession. According to concurrent reports, the appeals court has now increased the sentence to eleven years. Referring to this decision, Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, announced today (23 May):
“The renewed judgment passed against Javid Houtan Kian is outrageous. It was delivered in proceedings which ran contrary to the most fundamental principles of the rule of law.
For several months now, Iranian judicial and security authorities have taken ruthless action against human rights defenders, thus maintaining an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. While the Iranian Government is supporting civil rights protests and calls for freedom of expression when it comes to its neighbouring countries, it disregards human and civil rights in its own country every day.
I call on the Iranian judicial authorities to release Javid Houtan Kian and the other political prisoners immediately and to comply with the obligations undertaken by Iran under international law to protect the civil and political rights of its citizens.”
In August 2010, Javid Houtan Kian agreed to represent Sakineh Ashtiani – who had been sentenced to death by stoning – after her previous lawyer had withdrawn from the case following reprisals by the authorities and left Iran.
In early October 2010, while two German journalists were conducting an interview with Sakineh Ashtiani, Javid Houtan Kian, the two journalists and Mrs Ashtiani’s son were arrested. Mr Kian has been detained since then. He has been accused of spying and investigations are still continuing. During his remand in custody he is said to have been tortured.