Golaleh Vatandoust, Iranian Lawyer, Sentenced to 6 Years, 7 Months & 20 Days of Prison
24 januari 2024

Golaleh Vatandoust, Iranian Lawyer, Sentenced to 6 Years, 7 Months & 20 Days of Prison


Golaleh Vatandoust, Iranian Lawyer, Sentenced to 6 Years, 7 Months & 20 Days of Prison

On January 16, 2024, Lawyers for Lawyers received information from a trusted source that the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj sentenced Ms. Golaleh Vatandoust, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and renowned women’s rights advocate, to six years, seven months, and twenty days of imprisonment for aiming to establish an association called “Zhivana”, which would focus on women’s rights. The association was deemed an illegal organization. Additionally, she was charged with “spreading anti-state propaganda”, “formation of groups who undermine national security”, and “membership to opposition groups”. Her case is under review at the Court of Appeal of Kurdistan (Sanandaj) Province.

Lawyers in Iran continue to face systemic persecution for defending human rights. They are threatened, intimidated, and ultimately imprisoned. Furthermore, bureaucratic requirements and, at times, reprisals against lawyers make it extremely difficult for legal professionals to provide their clients with access to an adequate defence, thus restricting defendants’ right to a fair trial. The arrest of lawyers impedes the legal profession’s ability to act independently, jeopardizes the right to legal representation, and increases the risk of impunity concerning alleged human rights abuses committed by the State. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in his report, published in January 2022, noted that lawyers in Iran face an unpredictable and repressive environment. Ms. Golaleh Vatandoust is one of the many examples of Iranian lawyers who continue to advocate for justice despite facing legal challenges due to their activism.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024, marks the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. This day is an occasion to call attention to threatened human rights lawyers in Iran such as Ms. Golaleh Vatandoust, and all lawyers who have been unjustly sentenced. The recent attacks against human rights lawyers including Nasrin Sotoudeh, Nazanin Salari, Mahmoud Taravatrouy, and Masoud Ahmadian, among other lawyers charged with “political” and “security-related” offenses, illustrate the alarming situation of lawyers in Iran.

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the situation of lawyers in Iran and calls on the Iranian authorities to:

  • Drop all charges against Golaleh Vatandoust;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all lawyers who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and drop any charges against them;
  • Pending their release, guarantee the psychological and physical integrity of the lawyers and comply with international standards on conditions of detention; and
  • Guarantee that all lawyers in Iran are able to carry out their professional duties without intimidation, hindrance or improper interference.

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