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
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.
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
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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