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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 07 Lawyer sentenced to over 29 years in prison Jailed lawyer on hunger strike
FI 094/19-1
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Jailed lawyer on hunger strike

AI-Index: MDE 13/1823/2020

Human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi has been on hunger strike since 9 February 2020, in protest at the Iranian authorities’ refusal to grant him prison leave. He is jailed in Tehran’s Evin prison after being sentenced to 29 years and three months in prison and 111 lashes on charges stemming from his human rights work. Under Iran’s sentencing guidelines, he is required to serve 15 years in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience.


Between July and August 2018, Amirsalar Davoudi was summoned several times to the prosecutor’s office in Evin prison to be questioned about a media interview he had given to the Persian-language service of Voice of America, a US broadcaster that has a large audience in Iran. The results of these interrogations formed the basis of his arrest on 20 November 2018. He was initially charged with five offences: «insulting the Supreme Leader», «spreading propaganda against the system», «gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security», «spreading lies» and «insulting officials». However, when his case was sent to branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran around mid-January 2019, the authorities opened a second case against him. In this new case, he was charged with two offences: «forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security» and «collaborating with hostile governments», the latter imposed specifically in relation to the Voice of America interview. After combining both cases, the judge acquitted him of the charge of «collaborating with hostile governments», but convicted him on the other six charges and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for «forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security», seven years and six months for «gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security», three years for «spreading lies», two years and three months for «insulting the Supreme Leader», one year and six months for «spreading propaganda against the system», and 111 lashes for «insulting officials».

Amirsalar Davoudi is a human rights lawyer who has represented many prisoners of conscience including human rights defenders, other civil society activists and members of ethnic and religious minorities. He was the lawyer of Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, who was sentenced to death in early 2009 after being convicted of «enmity against God» (moharebeh) after a grossly unfair trial. He played an instrumental role in the subsequent commutation of her death sentence. He has also persistently advocated for Zeynab Jalalian’s access to medical care.

Torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, are widespread and systematic in Iran, especially during interrogations. Under international law, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited absolutely, in all circumstances and without exception. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Nelson Mandela Rules) define prolonged solitary confinement as «solitary confinement for a time period in excess of 15 consecutive days».

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