Hossein Ahmadiniaz: ,,Rule of law non-existent in Iran”
”My profession requires me to be brave”
Text: Johan van Uffelen
Today, February 26, is ‘Lawyers Day’ in Iran. ,,But it only has any meaning for independent lawyers like me”, says Iranian human rights defender Hossein Ahmadiniaz (47). ,,This date does not appear in any official agenda.” And that is significant.
,,For the regime this day simply doesn’t exist”. There is sadness in his voice. ,,In Iran there is no rule of law at all. Human rights, democracy and an independent judiciary are non-existent. Due process is impossible for individuals suspected of ‘national security crimes’. They have no right to choose their own attorney.”
Opponents of the authorities are being arrested on a large scale, minorities and women are treated unequally, political activists, critical students, journalists and lawyers are all being imprisoned.
Hossein speaks out freely, despite the risks he also runs abroad. ,,My profession requires me to be brave.”
For a long time he was a close colleague of Nasrin Soutadeh, one of the human-rights activists for whom Lawyers for Lawyers is now taking action in the context of the #FreeTheLawyers Campaign. Nasrin represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarves (hijab). She was charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei. On 11 March 2019 Nasrin was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Hossein, to his great regret, cannot say how she is doing now. He turns his eyes to the sky: ,,Any contact with her in jail is impossible.”
Hossein himself fled to The Netherlands in 2018, together with his two sons after being told that he was in great danger: ,,Hossein disappear, before the regime makes you disappear.”
At this moment a large number of Iranian lawyers are in custody because of their work. Among them three good friends and colleagues of Hossein. They are serving prison terms of between 20 and 36 years.
At the request of Lawyers for Lawyers journalist Johan van Uffelen conducted this interview with Hossein Ahmadiniaz. A longer version will be published in the coming days.
© Article: Johan van Uffelen
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lawyers for Lawyers.
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