Iran: Release on bail of Zeinab Taheri

31/08/2018
Urgent Appeal
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New information
IRN 002 / 0618 / OBS 088.1
Release on bail /
Judicial harassment
Iran
August 31, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your 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 release on bail of Ms. Zeinab Taheri, a human rights lawyer.

According to the information received, Ms. Zeinab Taheri was released on bail in late July 2018. She has reportedly been charged with "publishing lies with intent to disturb the public opinion" and "spreading propaganda against the system,” in an indictment prepared by the Prosecutor’s Office for Culture and Media that referred her case to Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran. The date of her trial hearing has not been set yet.

Ms. Zeinab Taheri was arbitrarily arrested on June 19, 2018 and subsequently detained incommunicado. She was arrested after she had voiced her objections and criticism of the unfair proceedings against one of her clients, a Sufi dervish man who was executed on June 18, 2018 (see background information).

The Observatory welcomes the release on bail of Ms. Zeinab Taheri, but expresses its deepest concern about the ongoing judicial harassment against her and urges the Iranian authorities to end all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her and all human rights defenders in the country.

Background information:

On June 19, 2018, Ms. Zeinab Taheri was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office for Culture and Media in Tehran and detained. During a press conference organised on the same day, Tehran Prosecutor Mr. Jafari Dolatabadi said that Ms. Taheri had “incited the public opinion and mobilised the counterrevolution against the judiciary”, and that “the hostile media used her remarks to publish 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 was detained incommunicado. Ms. Taheri was allegedly subjected to ill-treatments during her detention and subsequently transferred to a hospital. She 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 on 19 February 2018. 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 voiced her objections and criticism of the unfair proceedings against her client, including on Twitter, where she vowed to “reveal to the public all possible exculpatory evidence with regard to Mr. Mohammad Salass’ case”.

According to reports in news websites close to security and intelligence services, Ms. Taheri allegedly claimed - presumably during the interrogations before her release - that the Twitter account in her name was a fake one.

Before the execution of her client, 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].

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. Guarantee her right to due process and fair trial, as protected under international law;

iii. 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;

iv. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the 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;

v. 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;

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

Addresses:

• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email: info_leader@leader.ir; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email: media@rouhani.ir; 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: info@dadiran.ir / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir / info@bia-judiciary.ir
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; matbuat@mfa.gov.ir
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
• 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: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: secreteriat@iranembassy.be

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

***
Paris-Geneva, August 31, 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 FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· 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

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