Public Statement - The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer and activist Narges Mohammadi in Iran

TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2015 /CNW/ - Narges Mohammadi is a prominent human rights lawyer and activist, as well as the deputy director and spokesperson for the Defenders of Human Rights Centre ("DHRC") in Iran. The history of her harassment by Iranian authorities has been well-documented.

It has come to our attention that on 5 May 2015, Narges Mohammadi was arrested and imprisoned in Evin Prison. Narges Mohammadi faces new charges of "collusion," "assembly against national security," and "membership in Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty." Three scheduled court dates for her trial – 3 May 2015, 6 July 2015, and 7 October 2015 – were postponed. 

Reports indicate that Narges Mohammadi has a neurological condition that causes muscle paralysis. It is our understanding that Narges Mohammadi's health has deteriorated and that she has been chained to a hospital bed, denied proper medical treatment and has been denied family visitation. According to reports, Narges Mohammadi was taken to hospital on 11 October 2015, after having a seizure. She previously had a seizure on 7 October 2015. She was taken to hospital but brought back to prison two days later.

Organizations believe that Iranian authorities have harassed and detained Narges Mohammadi in order to prevent her from carrying out peaceful human rights activities, and that her ongoing detention constitutes part of a trend of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders in Iran.

The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with Articles 16 and 23 of the United Nations' Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers

Article 16 states:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economics or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.

Moreover, Article 23 states:

Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the rights to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization.

The Law Society urges the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to:


release Narges Mohammadi immediately, as she is a prisoner of conscience;


put an end to all acts of harassment against Narges Mohammadi as well as other human rights lawyer and defenders in Iran;


guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological safety and integrity of Narges Mohammadi;


provide Narges Mohammadi with regular access to her lawyer, family, her physician and adequate medical care;


guarantee all the procedural rights that should be accorded to Narges Mohammadi;


ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.

*The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for more than 49,000 lawyers and 7,400 paralegals in the province of Ontario, Canada. 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.

SOURCE The Law Society of Upper Canada

For further information: Susan Tonkin, Communications Advisor - Media Relations, at 416-947-7605 or The Law Society of Upper Canada, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N6,


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