a Note in Article 48 of the 2015 CCP, 6 specifies that individuals facing charges for certain offences, including those relating to national security and organized crime, must select legal counsel from a limited list of lawyers approved and announced by the Head of the Judiciary at the phase of preliminary investigations. 7 Consequently, the right to legal assistance of one’s choosing in cases related to national security and organized crime is particularly limited. For instance, in 2018, the Judiciary published the list of approved lawyers, which included only 20 names for Tehran. Many of the lawyers listed are reportedly close to the security bodies or paid to appear on the list, threatening due process and undermining the independence and neutrality of the Judiciary. 8 Additionally, although the CCP guarantees the right to free legal assistance for those without adequate financial resources, the applicability of this right is differentiated between the pre-trial and trial phases.9 For instance, the CCP does not ensure access to free legal assistance during the investigation phase in cases where the accused faces charges other than those punishable by severe punishments, such as the death penalty or life imprisonment. As a consequence, safeguards provided in the Iranian legal framework fail to protect the accused person’s right to access legal counsel in the pretrial phase in cases not punishable by severe punishments. In May 2019, the Iranian legal and judicial parliamentary commission proposed an amendment to Article 48 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which would allow the prosecution to delay access to a lawyer for 20 days, with a possibility of extension to the whole duration of investigation, in cases related to national security, terrorism or financial corruption.10 11 Such amendment would further restrict access to legal counsel during the investigation phase. Article 14 of the ICCPR protects the right “to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing”. Additionally, the Human Rights Committee has explicitly stipulated that the accused should be granted prompt access to legal counsel,12 including during the pre-trial phase.13 Following an urgent appeal sent by UN Special Procedures on 29 October 2009, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran informed by letter, dated 7 October 2010, that Messrs. Yousef Laftepour, Damir Mahavi, Ahmad Savaedi, Maher Mahavi, Valid Nisi, Majed Fowadi were sentenced to five year’s imprisonment, while Mr. Ali Savaed was 6 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 7 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) 8 “Iranian Lawyers Criticize Proposal to Deprive Defendants of Right to Choose Counsel,” Human Rights Activists in Iran, June 6, 2018 (https://www.iranrights.org/library/document/3443) 9 Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1327082016ENGLISH.PDF 10 Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, https://www.iranrights.org/newsletter/issue/99 11 www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/0379/2019/en/ ; https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/iran-proposedlaw-restricting-access-to-lawyer-would-be-crushing-blow-for-justice/ 12 UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 32, Article 14, Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to fair trial, 23 August 2007, CCPR/C/GC/32, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/478b2b2f2.html < https://www.refworld.org/docid/478b2b2f2.html> 13 Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on Georgia, CCPR/C/79/Add.75, para. 27, available at bit.ly/20caB7i; HRC, Concluding observations on the Netherlands, CCPR/C/NLD/CO/4, para. 11, available at www.refworld.org/docid/4aa7aa642.html 2

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