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UA 094/19
Abgeschlossen am 16. August 2019

Lawyer sentenced to over 29 years in prison

AI-Index: MDE 13/0636/2019

Human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi has been sentenced to 29 years and three months in prison and 111 lashes on charges stemming from his human rights work. He was interrogated in detention without a lawyer present and was convicted and sentenced in his absence. Under Iran’s sentencing guidelines, he is required to serve 15 years of this sentence. 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 wide viewing 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».

Following Amirsalar Davoudi’s arrest, the prosecutor’s office in Evin prison summoned his wife, Tannaz Kolahchian, also a lawyer, and another woman for questioning on two separate occasions in December 2018 and January 2019, in relation to their involvement with running his Telegram channel, Without Retouch. Amnesty International understands they have not been charged.

Amirsalar Davoudi is a prominent 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 for the charge 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.

Amirsalar Davoudi’s imprisonment falls into a pattern in which the Iranian authorities take increasingly repressive measures against human rights lawyers to silence them and stop them carrying out their legitimate work. Since January 2018, over a dozen lawyers have been arrested and detained and some sentenced to prison terms and flogging. They include Arash Keykhosravi, Ghassem Sholeh-Sa’di, Farokh Forouzan, Hoda Amid, Mohammad Najafi, Mostafa Daneshjoo, Mostafa Tork Hamadani, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Payam Derafshan and Zeynab Taheri.

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