Detention of human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoodi in Iran of deep concern

Thursday 21 February 2019

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is deeply concerned by the continued detention of human rights lawyer, Amirsalar Davoodi, without legal representation. A regular user of social media platforms as well as his Telegram channel, Without Retouch, to speak out about human rights concerns in Iran, Mr Davoodi was arrested in the country on 20 November 2018 and charged with crimes against national security. Access to his lawyer has been denied and family visits left wanting.

On the day of Mr Davoodi’s arrest, state intelligence agents arrived at his office without a warrant, proceeded to search the premises, seized several documents relating to his cases and arrested him. The agents also searched Mr Davoodi’s home, again without a warrant, and appropriated documents found there before taking him to Evin Prison.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, commented: ‘Without access to his lawyer, Amirsalar Davoodi’s fair trial rights are being violated in the most fundamental way by Iranian authorities. This is of deep concern to the IBAHRI as it leaves Mr Davoodi vulnerable to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. The IBAHRI calls for the Iranian authorities to allow Mr Davoodi access to his lawyer and full family visitation rights. Further, it reminds the authorities that they have an obligation to either charge Mr Davoodi with a recognisable offence and try him in accordance with international fair trial standards, or to release him immediately.

Despite not having legal representation, it appears that Mr Davoodi has been questioned by the prosecutor, as his case has been transferred to Revolutionary Court No 15 – part of a special system of courts in Iran designed to try those suspected of crimes including trying to overthrow the government. However, the exact formal charges against him remain unclear, as there are a number of crimes in Iran’s Islamic Penal Code under the heading ‘propaganda against the state’.

Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc, IBAHRI Co-Chair, commented: ‘From the conduct of the Iranian authorities, the arrest of Mr Davoodi appears to be related to his human rights work. The due process violations of searching his office and home, as well as the seizure of his documents without a warrant, are of great concern to the IBAHRI. The removal of documents related to his cases amounts to unlawful interference with his professional functions, prompting the IBAHRI to remind Iran’s authorities that international human rights standards require governments to ensure that lawyers are able to carry out their functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

Mr Davoodi has not had access to a medical professional to assess his health since his arrest. The IBAHRI also calls on the Iranian authorities to rectify this situation.


Notes to the Editor

  1. IBAHRI Iran-related material can be found at the following link,
  2. 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.

    In the ensuing 70 years since its creation, the organisation has evolved from an association comprised exclusively of bar associations and law societies to one that incorporates individual international lawyers and entire law firms. The present membership is comprised of more than 80,000 individual international lawyers from most of the world’s leading law firms and some 190 bar associations and law societies spanning more than 170 countries.

    The IBA has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global legal community, and through its global membership, it influences the development of international law reform and helps to shape the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

    The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works 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.

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