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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

to be presumed innocent.300

Article 14 (3)(b) of the ICCPR also requires that defendants be provided "adequate time and facilities for the preparation of ... defen[s]e and to communicate with counsel of [one's] own choosing." Individuals have the right to counsel both at trial and at stages prior to trial." 301 The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC), a body responsible for interpreting the ICCPR, has stated unequivocally that "all persons who are arrested must immediately have access to counsel … without delay."" 302

In violation of Iranian and international law, the Iranian authorities arbitrarily arrested women's rights activists and defenders, often without warrants and held them for indefinite time periods without formal charges. Many were not allowed contact with attorneys or family members. Shadi Sadr was not shown a warrant before or after her arrest, which was planned well in advance." 303 She was later told that she was arrested for endangering national security through causing riots, but no formal charges have been brought. Parisa Kakaee, who obeyed a summons and was arrested, was interrogated before being told her charges." 304 Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Shiva Nazar Ahari and Jila Bani Yaghoub were taken into custody in December 2009 during a carefully planned arrest, yet none were presented with an arrest warrant.305 Mansoureh Shojaee, who was arrested at her home, was never presented with an arrest warrant and was not given a reason for her arrest for several weeks.306 Hengameh Shahidi appears to have been arrested based on a letter by then-Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi.307 More recently, authorities arrested and searched Narges Mohammadi without a warrant, and held her for four days without informing her of her charges.308

Iranian authorities denied or severely restricted many detainees' access to counsel. Activists often endured weeks of interrogation before being able to even designate defense counsel, much less meet with them.309 For example, Shadi Sadr confirmed that while she represented Shiva Nazar Ahari, she was not permitted to see the case file or have contact with her client. Nazar Ahari continues to be held in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Evin Prison without contact with the outside world.310 Somayeh Rashidi, who was beaten during interrogation, spent over a month in Evin without access to counsel.

[300] Article 14(2) states: "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law." Id. art 14(2).
[301] ICCPR Article 14(3)(b) states: "States must provide adequate time and facilities for the preparation of defense and to communicate with counsel of one's own choosing." Id. art 14(3).
[302] Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Georgia, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.75 ¶ 27 (1997), available at http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=CCPR/C/79/Add.75. See also Berry v. Jamaica, where the petitioner claimed he was held in detention for 2.5 months without access to legal representation. The Jamaican government failed to contest his allegations, saying only that he could have applied to Jamaican courts for a writ of habeas corpus. The HRC concluded that the government had violated articles 9(3) and 9(4) of the ICCPR by denying the petitioner access to legal representation. Berry v. Jamaica. Communication No. 330/1988 (7 April 1994) U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/50/D/330/1988 available at http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=CCPR/C/50/D/330/1988.
[303] See supra note 142 and accompanying text.
[304] IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[305] See supra notes 159, 163 and accompanying text.
[306] See supra notes 211-12 and accompanying text.
[307] See supra notes 215-18 and accompanying text.
[308] See supra notes 200-05 and accompanying text.
[309] IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC). See supra notes 112, 160-62, 196-97, 209 and accompanying text.
[310] See supra notes 160-62 and accompanying text.

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Tagged as:

Sexual Violence, Gender Rights, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Free Association, Child Rights, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination