the independence and neutrality of the Judiciary.7 As a consequence, the right to legal assistance of one’s choosing in such cases is particularly limited. Defendants in national security cases are often denied access to a lawyer in the investigative stage of the judicial process. Of the hundreds of cases that the Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre has investigated of individuals arrested for political reasons, or suspected of committing ordinary crimes, none of the individuals were interrogated with the presence of an attorney. 8 Similarly, none of the death row prisoners Iran Human Rights has inquired about have had access to a lawyer in the initial phase after their arrest.9 Reports have shown a pattern of reported cases where prisoners remain incarcerated without proper access to legal representation at all stages of their trial process. 10 11 B. Ensure that national laws support the independence of lawyers and release all lawyers that appear to have been imprisoned for protected activities in defence of their clients In law, the Iranian Bar Association is independent since 1997, when a board of directors was appointed through The Law on Conditions for Obtaining the Attorney’s License, yet in practice, the Judiciary is in charge of vetting the candidates for appointment to this organ and lawyers have no immunity.12 According to reports that have been published in recent years, a number of lawyers and judges are scrutinized by security intelligence institutions.13 According to reports that have been recorded and published in recent years, a number of lawyers, mainly those that acted in defense of human rights activists like Hoda Amid14, Payam Derafshan, Farokh Forouzan, Mohammad Najafi, Amirsalar Davoudi, Nasrin Sotoudeh15 and Farzaneh Zilabi16 have been persecuted and arrested by Iranian intelligence institutions.17 Cases where lawyers have acted in defense of human rights activists and members of minorities are the most common instances where the Iranian authorities have actively engaged in repressing them through detention and incarceration. 18 19 7 “Iranian Lawyers Criticize Proposal to Deprive Defendants of Right to Choose Counsel,” Human Rights Activists in Iran, June 6, 2018 ( 8 9 10 HRANA 11 HRANA 12 13 HRANA 14 15 16 17 CSHR 18 Radio Farda and Amnesty 19 Iran Human Rights Defenders Report 2019/2020 2

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