Iran: Sentencing of human rights lawyer Amir Salar Davoodi

Urgent Appeal
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New information
IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115.4
Arbitrary detention/
June 6, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the sentencing of Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi, a human rights lawyer.

According to information received on June 1, 2019, Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran sentenced Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi to a total of 30 years in prison (to be served concurrently) [1], 111 lashes, a fine of 60 million Rials, and deprived him of his social rights [2] for two years. Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi was found guilty on several charges, including for “establishing a group to overthrow the system” (Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code) for establishing a group through a public channel on the messaging application Telegram, for which he was sentenced to 15 years. To date, the sentence under other charges are not known. Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi has decided not to appeal the sentence.

The charge of “establishing a group to overthrow the system” stems from Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi’s creation of a public channel named “withoutretouch” on the messaging application Telegram, on which he reported news and events regarding lawyers and the Bar Association in Iran. This channel was also used to share personal opinions on various topics, including objections to the detention of lawyers including Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh [3] and Messrs. Arash Kaykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi [4], and other lawyers, as well as statements criticising the actions of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the former Head of the Judiciary Sadeq Larijani.

Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi was detained in solitary confinement for over six months in Ward 241 of Tehran’s Evin prison, from his arrest on November 20, 2018 until June 3, 2019, when he was transferred to a dormitory ward in Evin prison. Ward 241 is run by the Intelligence Protection Unit of the Judiciary.

The Observatory recalls that several other human rights lawyers are currently detained for exercising their profession or for defending human rights, including Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Messrs. Mohammad Najafi, [5] Farhad Mohammadi, and Massood Shamsnejad. [6] Others have been released on bail pending trial.

The Observatory condemns the sentencing and ongoing judicial harassment of Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi, which seems to be aimed only at punishing him for the legitimate exercise of his rights.

Background information:

On November 20, 2018, Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi was arrested in Tehran, his office and house were searched, and he was placed in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison. On the same day, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a one-month detention order against him. Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi was charged with “gathering and colluding against national security” (Article 610 of Islamic Penal Code). Mr. Davoodi has previously represented various political prisoners and defendants belonging to religious and ethnic minorities.

On January 21, 2019, Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi was charged with “insulting the Leader” (Article 514 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500), and his case was referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Tehran. Although his parents were allowed to visit him on January 21, 2019, he was still denied visits from his wife, Ms. Tannaz Kolahchian, who is also a lawyer. Ms. Tannaz Kolahchian was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on January 5, 2019 and interrogated on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500), but her case was later closed.

Information received on April 16, 2019, relates that Branch 2 of the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran’s Evin prison issued another indictment against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi on charges of “cooperating with hostile governments through giving interviews to VOA” (purportedly under Article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “establishing a group to overthrow the system” (Article 498). The case was referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi and all other Iranian human rights defenders;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi, and all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi, and all other human rights defenders, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

iv. Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.


• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali 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. Hojattolislam Ebrahim Ra’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, 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 Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
• H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, June 6, 2019

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail:
• Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] Under Article 134, the highest sentence will be served. The maximum sentence under Article 498 is 10 years. But, Article 134 empowers judges to increase the sentence when the defendant has committed more than three offences.
[2] Article 26 of the Islamic Penal Code defines “social rights” as 1) standing in all elections; 2) to be a member of the Guardian Council and Expediency Discernment Council or the Cabinet and being appointed as the Deputy of the President; 3) taking any government posts; 4) taking top posts in the judiciary; 5) election to associations and parties; 6) being editor or director of any media; 7) employment in any government institution; 8) working as a lawyer or public notary; 9) election as a guardian, trustee, administrator, overseer, or operator of public endowments; 10) election as an arbitrator and expert in official bodies; 11) use state medals and medallions and honorary titles; 12) establish, manage, or membership, in the board of directors of governmental, cooperative, and private companies or to register a commercial name or an educational, research, cultural or scientific institute.
[3] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 001 / 0618 / OBS 085.1, published on March 12, 2019.
[4] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 003 / 0818 / OBS 106, published on August 23, 2018.
[5] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115.3, published on April 19, 2019.
[6] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 002 / 0219 / OBS 017, published on February 19, 2019.

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