Iran: Human Rights Lawyer announces sit-in outside Bar Association

Press release
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Dear Compatriots and human rights activists,

The 2nd Branch of the Disciplinary Investigation Panel of the Bar has sentenced me, Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer, to a three-year ban on practicing law. Thus, I shall begin a sit-in outside the Bar Association on the morning of Tuesday 21 October 2014.

Here are the reasons for my sit-in:

1. The Iranian government has been depriving dissidents from the right to life, education and work for many years.

I object to such deprivation.

2. The lamentable state of the Bar Association has prompted the hardliners within the government to target the entire Bar. By drafting the ‘Comprehensive Attorneyship Bill’, which has been prepared without the involvement of independent lawyers, they are planning to put an end to the Bar Association once and for all.

I object to such measures.

3. Courts of law have deprived dissident defendants from the right to appoint lawyer of their own choice. There was a time when they advised these defendants not to appoint human rights lawyers and occasionally mentioned the names of such lawyers.

Now the breach of the rights of defendants has gone too far: an unidentified person appears from nowhere in court and the judge introduces him to the defendant as the latter’s lawyer.

Meanwhile, prominent lawyers such as Messrs Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Seifzadeh, lawyers of the Dervishes of Gonabadi Order and others have been sentenced to long-term prison terms.

I object to such procedures.

4. The sentence imposed by the 2nd Branch of the Disciplinary Investigation Panel of the Bar to ban me from practicing law for three years has been issued under pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Prosecutor’s Office.

I object to this sentence.

I shall not file an appeal with the Disciplinary Court of Judges from my home. Rather, I shall stage a sit-in outside the Capital Tehran’s Bar Association at 9 am, Tuesday, 21 October 2014 to protest the mismanagement in the Bar Association and the judges’ partiality, the deprivation of work, the disregard for the rights of dissenters to appoint lawyers of their choice, and efforts to eliminate the independence of the Bar Association.

Hoping for the independence of the Judiciary and the Bar,

Nasrin Sotoudeh

20 October 2014

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