The clerical regime’s Judiciary has summoned and sentenced a number of human rights lawyers, including three women, in recent days.
Marzieh Nikara, prominent human rights lawyer and activist, has been sentenced to one year of imprisonment by Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
The court session on Sunday, May 14, 2023, concluded with her being sentenced to one year of imprisonment on charges of “anti-regime propaganda activities” and “dissemination of falsehoods.” Another human rights lawyer, Mohammad Seifzadeh, was also sentenced to one year on similar charges.
This case originated from a letter drafted by a group of human rights defenders and legal experts to the UN Secretary-General, addressing the suppression and intimidation of citizens during the nationwide protests in 2022-2023.
Additionally, Forough Sheikhol Eslami Vatani, a member of the Central Bar Association, was summoned by Branch 7 of the Security Courthouse of Evin Prison. She has to appear before the courthouse, located in Evin Prison, on May 24, 2023. Two other lawyers, Yashar Kazemi, and Shayan Zadegan, were simultaneously summoned as Forough Sheikhol Eslami Vatani.
In a separate summons, Tutia Partovi Amoli, a human rights lawyer and a member of the Central Bar Association, has also been summoned to the courthouse. The exact reasons for this summons have not been revealed at this time.
Trial Date Set for Human Rights Lawyer Farzaneh Zilabi
The trial date for lawyer Farzaneh Zilabi, who is facing multiple charges, has been set for 14th Khordad 1402 (June 4, 2023) at Branch 113 of the Criminal Court of Ahvaz. This announcement comes after a previous court session was canceled due to a procedural error and failure to notify one of Zilabi’s lawyers. The charges against Zilabi relate to “spreading falsehoods” and her alleged involvement in activities supporting the 2022-2023 nationwide uprising.
Zilabi had previously defended herself against charges of “insulting the leadership,” “membership in anti-regime groups,” “conspiracy and collusion to act against national security,” “propaganda activities against the regime,” and “spreading falsehoods” in a trial session held on February 14, 2023, at the Ahvaz Courthouse. She was temporarily released on bail following the session. Ms. Zillabi was deprived of the right to have a lawyer in this session, and after the session was over, she was released temporarily until the end of the proceedings.
Zilabi has been known for representing cases such as the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers and recent detainees, including Mehrnoush Tafian, Mandana Sadeghi, and Ronak Razaei.
These developments concerning the sentencing and summoning of human rights lawyers highlight ongoing concerns regarding freedom of speech, fair trials, and the protection of legal professionals in Iran. The intensified scrutiny and legal actions against human rights lawyers involved in cases related to the protests and protesters calls for action by human rights organizations to draw attention to the lack of independence of the Iranian legal system and judiciary.