Iran: IBAHRI condemns death sentence given to a protestor and calls for United Nations investigative mechanism

Thursday 17 November 2022

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns both the sentencing to death of an unnamed protestor in Iran and the violent crackdowns of protests by the country’s authorities. Consequently, the IBAHRI calls for a United Nations mechanism to be urgently established with the mandate to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the suppressions under international law and to put an end to the persistent impunity for grave human rights violations.

On 13 November 2022, the unidentified protestor was convicted by an Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran of ‘enmity against god’ and ‘spreading corruption on Earth’. Five other protestors have been given prison sentences ranging from five to ten years for ‘collusion to commit a crime against national security and disturbance of public peace and order’.

Anne Ramberg Dr Jur hc, IBAHRI Co-Chair and Immediate Past Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, commented: ‘The IBAHRI calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately release all protestors who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for exercising their legitimate right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. These individuals should not be indicted with charges punishable with death for participating in peaceful protests. Furthermore, we call for a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation by the UN to ensure accountability of ongoing human rights violations in Iran. Also, the IBAHRI reminds the Iranian authorities of their obligation to recognise the right of citizens to peaceful assembly and of the requirement to adhere to the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), especially Article 21.’

According to the UN, an estimated 14,000 people have been arrested and detained since protests began in September 2022 following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for wearing her headscarf ‘inappropriately’ as dictated by Iran’s ‘morality’ police. Since the death of Amini on 16 September, protests in Iran have burgeoned from calling for an end to violence and discrimination against women in Iran, and the repealing of discriminatory laws against women, to calls for the fall of the clerical establishment.

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, IBAHRI Director, commented: ‘Iran’s discriminatory law and systemic impunity for unlawful killings during protests have triggered this nationwide outrage. We are deeply concerned about the arrests and attacks on protestors, especially women and girls, who have been at the forefront of protests, as well as the targeting of lawyers defending protestors. IBAHRI condemns the Iranian authorities’ ruthlessness towards human rights defenders and calls on the state to desist from the arbitrary use of force to silence public dissent.’

Mark Stephens CBE, IBAHRI Co-Chair, commented: ‘Rather than using cruel draconian measures in attempts to crush the spirit of resistance among the country’s courageous protestors, Iran’s authorities would do well to address the root causes of the uprising that has unfolded across the country. The protests reveal the outrage of citizens over abusive compulsory veiling laws, unlawful killings, widespread repression and the reckless and lethal use of live ammunition by the security forces on people they are meant to protect. While the IBAHRI calls for the release of protestors, we remind the Iranian authorities of the need to ensure that the treatment of those detained adheres to the conditions set out in the Body of Principles for the Protection of Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, including immediate access to lawyers.’

Experts at the UN have warned the ongoing repression of protests could lead to the issuance of more death penalty-related indictments, with women and girls potentially being particularly targeted as they have led the protests.

Reports state that dozens of people have been killed, including 24 women and 41 children, hundreds injured and that security forces have committed sexual assaults and other gender-based violence.


For further information/interview requests, please send an email to:

Notes to the Editor

  1. Related links:
  2. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous and financially independent entity, working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  3. Find the IBA(@IBAnews) on social media here:
  4. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
  5. The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.
  6. Find the IBA(@IBAnews) on social media here: