TORONTO, May 6, 2014 /CNW/ - The Law Society of Upper Canada is gravely
concerned about the ongoing detention and lack of medical attention for
Farshid Yadollahi and imprisoned human rights lawyers in Iran.
Farshid Yadollahi is a human rights lawyer who is well known for
representing religious minorities in Iran. In late 2011, he was
arrested for "propagating lies and creating public anxiety" after
successfully representing Dervish clients, who are Sufi Muslims and
choose to live in poverty. Farshid Yadollahi, along with four other
lawyers, and over 60 Sufis, were arrested en mass. His arrest followed the filing of a complaint against Iranian
intelligence services for unlawful behaviour, which was a legitimate
exercise of his duties as a lawyer. His arrest is seen as part of an
ongoing campaign by Iranian authorities to harass lawyers representing
religious minorities such as Gonabadi Dervishes.
Until recently, Farshid Yadollahi was serving his sentence in the Evin
Prison. It is reported that he has been illegally transferred from Evin
Prison to Rajai-Shahr Prison, west of Tehran. The illegal transfer of
Farshid Yadollahi and the lack of medical treatment for imprisoned
human rights lawyers, like him, along with other prisoners of
conscience prompted a protest in early March.
There is growing concern over the lack of medical treatment for human
rights lawyers imprisoned in Iran's Evin and Rajai-Shahr prisons.
Prisoners are not receiving proper medical treatment and the prisons
lack the facilities required for sick prisoners. Imprisoned lawyers
seeking medical treatment are also being judicially blocked from
receiving treatment by Justice Salavati. They are not receiving medical
treatment for issues such as heart conditions, breathing problems,
dental issues and kidney and spinal conditions.
Imprisoned lawyers who attempt to access proper medical care are further
harassed by authorities. Many of these lawyers' medical problems have
been brought about by ill treatment and the lack of access to proper
medical care in prison. If imprisoned lawyers who are connected to the
Dervish community are allowed to access medical treatment, then they
are expected to remain shackled and in their prisoner uniforms.
The Law Society is deeply concerned about situations where lawyers who
work for the protection and respect of human rights are themselves
targeted for exercising their freedoms and rights under international
law. International human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights state that respect for human rights is essential to advancing the rule
of law. Article 16 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states "governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all
of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance,
harassment or improper interference; are able to travel and to consult
with their clients freely; and shall not suffer, or be threatened with,
prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any
action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties,
standards and ethics". Article 18 states "lawyers shall not be
identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of
discharging their functions".
The Law Society urges the government of Iran to:
guarantee all the procedural rights that should be accorded to Farshid
Yadollahi and other human rights defenders in Iran;
guarantee in all circumstances proper medical care and the physical and
psychological integrity of Farshid Yadollahi and other human rights
put an end to all acts of harassment against Farshid Yadollahi and other
human rights defenders in Iran;
ensure that all Iranian lawyers can carry out their peaceful and
legitimate activities without fear of physical violence or other human
rights violations; and
ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and
The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for 46,200 lawyers
and 6,200 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada, and the
Treasurer is the head of the Law Society. The mandate of the Law
Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by
upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal
profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the
rule of law.
The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of
members of the legal profession in their effort to advance the respect
of human rights and to promote the rule of law.
SOURCE: The Law Society of Upper Canada
For further information:
please contact Lisa Hall at 416-947-7625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6