Iran: UPR mid-term report
28 July 2022

Iran: UPR mid-term report


In preparation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran in 2025, Lawyers for Lawyers has written a mid-term report. In this report, we set out to what extent Iran has implemented the recommendations it accepted during the 2019 UPR process in relation to the role of lawyers.

During the 2019 UPR, Iran received and partially accepted eleven recommendations with respect to the effective protection of human defenders and lawyers, including recommendations pertaining to guaranteeing the right to a fair trial, including the right to choose one’s lawyer, and to the right of freedom of expression of human rights defenders and lawyers. Our report concludes that Iran has not adequately implemented the recommendations.

Since the UPR of Iran in 2019, there have been a multitude of cases in which lawyers have been hindered in the execution of their professional functions. Lawyers in Iran working on sensitive cases have been subjected to harassment, improper interference, illegitimate prosecutions, unfair trials, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty. The reports highlights the issues of the criminal prosecution of lawyers and illustrates various cases of lawyers who have been criminally prosecuted.

A second issue that is raised in the report relates to the Note to Article 48 of Iran’s Criminal Procedures Regulations. This Note provides that in cases of crimes against the security of the State, suspects have to choose a lawyer from a pre-approved list. According to our knowledge, the judiciary has not published its approved list at the time of writing this report. The Note to Article 48 also enables judicial authorities to delay and individual’s access to counsel in cases involving alleged “national security” crimes – which are typically used against activists, human rights defenders and perceived critics of the State party. Since the UPR of Iran in 2019, various human rights defenders, including lawyers were denied access to a lawyer of their own choosing and restricted to selecting a lawyer from a list approved by the judiciary chief.

The third issue that is highlighted in the report concerns the criminalization of the right to freedom of expression of lawyers in Iran. By highlighting a few individual cases, we illustrate that lawyers in Iran have faced arrests and criminal prosecution in connection to them exercising their right to freedom of expression.

We urge the authorities of Iran to:

  • Respect the rights of lawyers by guaranteeing that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference, and ensuring that lawyers are not being subjected to arbitrary detention and improper criminal charges, in accordance with Articles 16(a) and (c) and 23 of the Basic Principles; Articles 9, 14 and 19 of the ICCPR; and Articles 3, 5, 7, 11 and 19 of the UDHR.
  • Uphold the right to fair trial, and guarantee everyone’s right to effective access to justice and legal assistance of their choice, in line with the Preamble and Principle 1 of the Basic Principles, Article 14 of the ICCPR, and Article 11 of the UDHR.
  • Guarantee that lawyers may exercise their right to freedom of expression, belief, association and peaceful assembly as set out in Article 23 of the Basic Principles; Articles 18, 19 and 21 of the ICCPR; and Articles 19 and 20 of the UDHR.

Click here to read the report.


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