Iran: Sentencing of Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh to a total of four years of imprisonment

Urgent Appeal
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New information
IRN 002 / 0414 / OBS 027.1
Judicial harassment / Sentencing /
Reprisal for cooperating with the UN
July 3, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (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 Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) of the sentencing of Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, a human rights lawyer and member of the DHRC.

According to the information received, Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh was recently informed of his sentencing on May 31, 2014 by Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court to a total of four years of imprisonment, including three years for the charge of “assembly and collusion with intent to commit anti-security crimes” based on membership of “an illegal organisation” – i.e. the DHRC – and one year for “spreading propaganda against the State.” In addition, the court banned him from practising as a lawyer and membership of political groups and parties for two years. Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh is appealing the sentence and remains free in the meantime.

The Observatory recalls that Messrs. Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh, two other human rights lawyers and co-founders of the DHRC, are currently serving long-term prison sentences in Tehran’s Evin prison and Karaj’s Rajaishahr prison, respectively, on charges related to their human rights activities. In January 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that Mr. Soltani’s detention was arbitrary. Mr. Soltani suffers from serious health problems but does not have adequate access to proper medical care in detention or outside medical facilities.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern with the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Esmaeilzadeh and other DHRC members, and calls on the Iranian authorities to end all kinds of harassment against him, including at the judicial level and to drop all the charges against him.

Background information:

On April 15, 2014, Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh was tried by Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court. During a preliminary interrogation on July 12, 2011, he was notified of the charges of “assembly and collusion with intent to commit anti-security crimes” based on his membership of DHRC, and “spreading propaganda against the State”, for allegedly writing the monthly reports of the DHRC and sending them to human rights organisations including the UN Human Rights Council, as well as his activity in the Fair, Healthy and Free Elections Committee and the Committee’s statement before the 2009 presidential elections. He was also banned from travelling abroad. He was not allowed to read his file before the trial, but his lawyers were given the opportunity to read it. The judge told him after the trial that if he wished the ban on his travel abroad to be lifted, he had to “negotiate with the file experts”, his interrogators at the Ministry of Intelligence who prepared the file for the court.

The Observatory recalls that since the closure of the DHRC’s offices in 2008, Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh has faced several interrogations by intelligence and security organisations as well as pressures to resign from the DHRC. He was also expelled from the Higher Institute of Banking of Iran in 2009 and from the Islamic Azad University-Bam Unit in 2012 because he refused to resign from the DHRC. He served six years in prison from 1982-1988.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Messrs. Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh and all human rights defenders detained in Iran merely to sanction their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Messrs. Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh, as well as all other DHRC members and all human rights defenders in Iran and ensure in all circumstances that they can carry out their activities without any hindrances;

iv. Conform in all circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
 its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
 and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

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, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shahid Keshvardoost St., Jomhuri Eslami Ave., Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email:; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
· President Hassan Rouhani, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Tel: +98 21 64451; Fax: + 98 21 649 5880; Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email:; / /
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Kushk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149;
· Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, [Care of] Office of the Head of the Judicary, Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave, South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
· H.E. Mr. Mohsen Naziri Asl, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
· H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Barimani, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

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

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