Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
A/HRC/34/52/Add.1 para 395
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur reiterates his appeal to the Government to take all necessary measures
to guarantee that human rights defenders are subject to fair proceedings before an independent
and impartial tribunal.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. The Special Rapporteur appeals to the Government to take all necessary measures
to guarantee that all human rights defenders are subject to fair proceedings.
The Iranian legal framework is particularly restrictive regarding the protection of the rights to
freedom of expression, assembly and association. These restrictions expose human rights
defenders (HRDs) to a heightened risk of having their peaceful and professional activities
prohibited under the law. Article 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran2 protects
the right to freedom of peaceful assembly only if it is not “in violation of the fundamental
principles of Islam”, a criterion not clearly defined. Similarly, the right to freedom of
expression, recognised under Article 24 of the Constitution, is restricted if the expression is
“deemed harmful to the principles of Islam or the rights of the public”. Article 40 further allows
for restrictions of rights, including peaceful assembly, if their exercise is deemed “injurious to
others” or “detrimental to public interests”.
These restrictions are reiterated in the revised version of the Islamic Penal Code,3 adopted in
2013. For instance, those participating in peaceful unauthorised assemblies can be sentenced to
prison terms on the charges of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national
security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code),4 “forming a group composed of more than two
people with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 498) 5 and/or “membership of a
group with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 499). Other criminal charges
include “spreading propaganda against the system”, 6 conspiracy against the State,7
1
CCPR.14.1.S.3, CCPR.14.3.S.4
CCPR.14.3.P.2, CCPR.14.1.P.5
CCPR.14.3.O.3, CCPR.14.1.O.10
2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitutionenglish-1368.pdf
3
The Islamic Penal Code available at: http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048
4
The new Islamic Penal Code was introduced in 2013 for an experimental period of five years and was revised in 2016. See the
most updated version of the Islamic Penal Code here on the website of the Iranian parliament:
http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048
5
Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
6
Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
7
Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/

1

Select target paragraph3