Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/28/70 para 94
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur looks forward to observing the impact that amendments to
the Code of Criminal Procedure will have on improving access to legal counsel, and
encourages the Government to guarantee this right for all accused, regardless of the
allegations against them. He notes that the Government should further ensure that national
laws support the independence of lawyers, in accordance with international norms and
standards, and implores the Islamic Republic of Iran to release all lawyers that appear to
have been imprisoned for protected activities in defence of their clients, such as raising
awareness about fair trial concerns.
Assessment using Impact Iran indicators1
A. Encourages the Government to guarantee this right for all accused
The guarantee of to the right to legal defense is enshrined in Article 35 of the Constitution which
ensures the right to choose a lawyer.2 Article 190 of the revised Code of Criminal Procedure
(CCP) protects the right of a suspect to “be accompanied by a lawyer during the preliminary
investigations.” Article 48 of the CCP permits the accused to “demand the presence of a lawyer
from the start of detention.”3 4 However, a Note to Article 48 of the 2015 CCP,5 specifies that
individuals facing charges for certain offences, including those relating to national security and
organized crime, must select their legal counsel from among a limited list of lawyers approved
and announced by the Head of the Judiciary at the phase of preliminary investigations.6 In 2018,
the Judiciary published the list of approved lawyers (including only 20 names for Tehran).
However, many of the lawyers named are reportedly close to the security bodies or had been
solicited for payments of money to appear on the list, threatening due process and questioning

1

CCPR.14.3.S.4; CCPR.14.3.P.2; CCPR.14.3.O.3; CCPR.14.1.S.2; CCPR.14.1.P.2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran http://www.iranchamber.com/government/laws/constitution_ch03.php
3
Code of Criminal Procedure of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2015) as referenced in the joint submission to the Human Rights
Committee from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Impact Iran, Human Rights
Activists in Iran, 2020,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_ICS_IRN_42313_E.pdf
4
Code of Criminal Procedure of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2015) original version http://dotic.ir/print/5584
5
Code of Criminal Procedure of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2015) as referenced in the joint submission to the Human Rights
Committee from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Impact Iran, Human Rights
Activists in Iran, 2020,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_ICS_IRN_42313_E.pdf
6
The former CCP had conditioned the presence of a lawyer at the investigative stage on the permission of the judge in cases with
a “confidential” aspect, cases where the presence of a party other than defendant would “corrupt” proceedings as determined
by the judge, and in national security cases; See the March 17, 2017 report of the UN Special Rapporteur, Asma Jahangir, on fair
trial in Iran (https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/34/65)
2

1

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