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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

IRAN

1st  May 2010

 

Lawyer Who Defended Children On Death Row Jailed

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Mohammad Olyaeifard  

sentenced to one-year jail term

on charges of "propaganda against the system"after speaking out against the execution of one of his clients during interviews with international media.

 

 

 .

 

Deutsche Welle  

 

Mohammad Olyaeifard was detained on 1 May on charges of "propaganda against the system"after speaking out against the execution of one of his clients during interviews with international media. Before his arrest, Mohammad Olyaeifard said that he had been convicted because of an interview he gave to Voice of America's Persian Service shortly after his client, juvenile offender Behnoud Shojaee, was hanged for a murder he committed when he was 17 years old.

 Olyaeifard is among the very few lawyers in Iran who represent child offenders on death row in the Islamic republic. Iran is one of the only countries that execute offenders for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18 years old.

Shortly after his interviews, Mohammad Olyaeifard was summoned for questioning on the basis of a complaint brought against him by the Tehran Prosecutor and in November 2010 he was briefly arrested and charged before being released on bail equivalent to about US$50,000.

But he was then sentenced to one year in prison on 7 February 2010 by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

He was arrested a second time on 8 March 2010 but was released six days later as his lawyers had not been informed of his sentence.

Mohammad Olyaeifard was rearrested on 1 May when he went to the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to meet a court official,  to begin serving a one-year jail term. His lawyers have not been informed of his sentence, in violation of Iranian law.

 

He is now held in Section 350 of Evin Prison.Mohammad Olyaeifard requires regular medication for severe migraines and fainted on 4 March.

 

Mohammad Olyaeifard, who has defended many prisoners of conscience and juvenile offenders - those sentenced to death for crimes committed when under the age of 18, has previously been targeted for his work. He was once interrogated and accused of propagating lies for condemning the torture of one of his clients, while he has been a vocal critic of Iran's executions of juvenile offenders.

  

The arrest of Mohammad Olyaeifard follows attempts by the Iranian authorities to undermine the independence of the Iranian Bar Association, including by barring candidates from standing for election to senior positions. The Iranian authorities have intensified the already severe restrictions  since the disputed presidential election last June, arresting  lawyers such as Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Abdolfattah Soltani, Shani Shadr or Mohammad Mostafaei, although all were later freed on bail.

The work license of at least two lawyers representing the case of Gonabadi dervishes, who've come under pressure by the authorities, have reportedly been canceled by the judiciary.  One of them, Mostafa Daneshjou, told  that the situation puts the independence of lawyers at serious risk. He has called on his colleagues to protest against the pressure on lawyers.

With IDHAE
urge  the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release  Mohammad Olyaeifard and ensure that while imprisoned, he is granted access to his family and lawyers and to adequate medical care because as a lawyer he has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

 

 

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