A gathering of lawyers in Tehran

Iranian Lawyers Protest Against Recent Judicial Reforms

Tuesday, 09/12/2023

Dozens of lawyers in Iran held a demonstration on Tuesday to protest recent judicial reforms, which they say have raised significant challenges for human rights lawyers.

The lawyers, who had gathered outside the judiciary’s headquarters in Tehran, said the new reforms particularly hinder the lawyers who defend politically motivated cases including activists, dissidents, journalists, and artists targeted by the state.

The messages conveyed by their signs were unequivocal: "Lawyers' independence safeguards the defense of people's rights" and "Without independent lawyers, defendants are left defenseless."

Over time, Iranian bar associations have faced increasing pressures from governmental bodies and the judiciary. They have gradually seen their autonomy and authority erode through the enactment of various laws and a series of protests were seen at bar associations across the country in August.

On August 21, Iranian lawmakers passed a new bill that imposes a mandate on bar associations to comply with decisions made by the Regulatory Board of the Ministry of Economy, effectively rendering them as extensions of the government. The legislation restricts the possibility of challenging the decisions of the Regulatory Board in the Administrative Justice Court.

Among its provisions, the resolution confers authority upon the Ministry of Economy to issue, renew, and revoke attorney licenses. Lawyers contend that this move contradicts international legal standards and established regulations.

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