Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (4 September) on the imprisonment of several lawyers and human rights activists in Iran:
The imprisonment of at least eight lawyers and human rights activists in Iran in recent weeks gives me great cause for concern.
They have shown great dedication in defending people who had been arrested for their peaceful defence of human rights, civil liberties and environmental protection. Now they themselves are in prison. At the same time their clients have been denied the option of choosing their lawyers freely.
With the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has committed itself to observing and protecting the right to freedom of expression and the right to defence by a lawyer of one’s own choosing.
I therefore call upon Iran to immediately release all those people who have been imprisoned for their commitment to human rights and civil liberties and once again to allow the lawyers to practise without restriction.
Last weekend, Payam Derafshan, lawyer of the environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in prison, Farrokh Forouzan, lawyer of Arash Keykhosravi, and Hoda Amid, lawyer and women’s rights activist, were arrested. The provisional imprisonment of Iranian human rights activist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh on 13 June 2018 was once again extended. She is accused of spreading propaganda against the state. She had previously defended two young women who had been imprisoned for publicly protesting against the hijab requirement. In mid August, Arash Keykhosravi, Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi and Masoud Javadieh were arrested for participating in a demonstration against the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea before the parliament. In early August, Mohammad Najafi, who was arrested in January, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and 74 lashes. He had taken on the defence of a protester who had died in prison.