As a lawyer, Mohammad Seifzadeh stood by many victims of human rights violations in Iran. He was one of the lawyers involved in the foundation of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC, website) in 2001. The DHRC, which reports frequently on human rights violations in Iran, is the most prominent human rights organisation in Iran.
On 30 October 2010, the court in Teheran sentenced Seifzadeh to nine years in prison because of his involvement in the establishment of the DHRC. He was also prohibited from practising law for a period of ten years. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Seifzadeh called his trial “illegal” and an “inquisition”. He particularly criticised the political nature of the trial and the fact that he was constantly asked questions that were entirely unrelated to the charges. According to Karim Lahidji of the International Federation for Human Rights, it is the first time that an Iranian lawyer, besides being sent to prison, is also disqualified from his profession.
On 23 April 2011, it appeared that Seifzadeh was arrested and detained in the city of Urumiyeh, in the north-west of Iran.
Other lawyers involved in the foundation of the DHRC who were prosecuted as a result are Shirin Ebadi, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Mohammad Sharif and Abdolfatah Soltani. The DHRC is presently led by Shirin Ebadi, lawyer and Nobel laureate, who took the initiative for the foundation of the DHRC and had to leave Iran because of the many repressive measures of its government.
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