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January 20, 2023

Statement of ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross Re: Iranian government’s treatment of lawyers, protesters

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2023 – The American Bar Association condemns the Iranian government’s reactions to nationwide protests by individuals seeking greater freedoms.

The protests were sparked by the September death of Jina Mahsa Amini while in government custody for an alleged breach of Iran’s mandatory hijab laws. Since then, lawyers have been arrested solely for fulfilling their professional obligation to advise and represent their clients, including protesters. Detainees have been mistreated and tortured without due process or access to legal counsel of their choice. These deeply flawed proceedings result in conviction and sentencing to lengthy prison terms, even death. Hundreds of protesters have died, and thousands have been arrested.

The ABA calls upon the government of Iran to fulfill its obligation under international law to respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and stop its violence against protesters. The ABA also calls upon Iran to recognize lawyers’ rights to fulfill their professional responsibilities and release all who have been arbitrarily detained.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.