Iran: Zeinab Taheri arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado

Urgent Appeal
en fa

IRN 002 / 0618 / OBS 088
Incommunicado detention /
Ill-treatments / Judicial harassment
June 22, 2018

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Zeinab Taheri, a human rights lawyer.

According to the information received, on June 19, 2018, Ms. Zeinab Taheri was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office for Culture and Media in Tehran and detained on charges of “disturbing the public opinion”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “publishing lies”. Tehran Prosecutor Mr. Jafari Dolatabadi subsequently said during a press conference organised on the same day that Ms. Taheri had “incited the public opinion and mobilised the counterrevolution against the judiciary”, and that “the hostile media used her remarks to published reports against the judiciary”.

Later on the same day, Ms. Zeinab Taheri was transferred to the Qarchack women’s prison in Sharhr-e Rey, southern Tehran, where she has been detained incommunicado since. Ms. Taheri would allegedly have been subjected to ill-treatments during her detention and subsequently transferred to a hospital. She has also reportedly started a hunger strike to protest her detention.

Ms. Zeinab Taheri’s arrest came a day after one of her clients, Mr. Mohammad Salass, a Sufi dervish, was executed, for allegedly driving a bus that killed three members of the security forces near the house of a Sufi Order’s leader four months ago. Ms. Taheri took over the case in its final stage and applied for a retrial at the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court did not invite her to a hearing and did not seem to take notice of her application. In the final week leading to the execution of her client, Ms. Zeinab Taheri said that he had been coerced to confess under torture and had voiced her objections and criticism of the unfair proceedings against her client, including on Twitter, where she had vowed to "reveal for public opinion all possible" evidence of her client’s innocence. Ms. Taheri also wrote an open letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to ask him to intervene in the case. The international community voiced its concerns about the judicial proceedings that led to the execution of Mr. Mohammad Salass [1].

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about Ms. Zeinab Taheri’s incommunicado detention and urges the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and to guarantee in all circumstances her physical and psychological integrity.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Zeinab Taheri, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Zeinab Taheri, as well as all human rights defenders detained in Iran, as their detention is arbitrary as it is merely aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. In the meantime, guarantee her right to due process and fair trial, as protected under international law, including the unhindered access to her lawyer and family;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Zeinab Taheri, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

v. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of ill-treatment in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

vi. Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2.;

vii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights 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. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, 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. Javad Amin-Mansour, 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 diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

Geneva-Paris, June 22, 2018

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 the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH 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 OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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