The systemic harassment, arrest and imprisonment of human rights lawyers in Iran remain an ongoing concern for the Human Rights Monitoring Group. To date, the Law Society has written approximately 8 letters of intervention in support of Iranian lawyers, including Shirin Ebadi, Saleh Kamrani, Nasser Zarafshan and Abdolfattah Soltani. In September 2010, the Law Society released a public statement expressing its general concern about the widespread persecution and human rights violations against lawyers in Iran and in particular its concerns over the arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer.
Houtan Kian is a human rights lawyer representing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman charged and convicted of adultery whose case has attracted considerable international attention. She was sentenced to death by stoning, although recent reports suggest that Iranian authorities now plan to execute her by hanging.
Mr. Kian disappeared on October 10, 2010 along with two German journalists who were seeking to interview the son of Ms. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Initially, his whereabouts were unknown, however recently his detention has been confirmed by the Iranian government.
Iranian officials have claimed that he is being detained on suspicion of having involvement with anti-revolutionary groups abroad and forging/duplicating identity cards. However, reports indicate that he is being detained as a result of his involvement with and representation of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. While Mr. Kian’s condition in custody is presently unknown; there are reports that he has been tortured.
It is also reported that the arrest of Mr. Kian is related to the systemic approach by Iranian officials to arrest of hundreds of activists and opposition members. More than 90 have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 15 years or death.
Letter of Intervention