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Iran: Release Human Rights Lawyer, Restore Citizens’ Right to Legal Defense
In response to the Iranian government’s detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer, on June 13, 2018, and the judiciary’s earlier announcement that citizens facing security-related charges may be defended only by government-approved lawyers, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Iranian authorities detained Sotoudeh for criticizing citizens’ lack of access to a fair legal defense, an arrest that highlights the government’s intolerance of dissent and its use of the judicial system to punish critics,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Freedom House. “The judiciary’s selection of 20 government-vetted lawyers to act as defense counsel in all security-related cases deprives citizens of any semblance of due process, leaving them at the mercy of Iran’s security agencies. The judiciary should unconditionally release Sotoudeh from custody, and the parliament should advance legislation that restores citizens’ access to justice.”
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.