Region of Concern: Iran
Written By Cayla Lee; Edited by Jennifer Loy
Date: December 17, 2022
Event: On December 17, 2022, Iran’s security forces arrested a lawyer who was representing several activists and journalists. Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi was also representing Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, the two female journalists who initially reported about Mahsa Amini’s death, after which three months of protests still follow. Ham Mihan reported that Kamfirouzi’s arrest brings the total number of lawyers detained to 25. His lawyer, Mohammad Ali Bagherpour, stated that Kamfirouzi had not received a summons, nor provided any legal formalities. A number of other journalists have been arrested as have civilians who have been sentenced to death, executed, or killed.
Significance: Targeting lawyers will very likely allow the Iranian government to crack down on protests more efficiently. Fewer lawyers will very likely be willing to risk their own safety by representing arrested protestors and challenging the regime. This will almost certainly decrease resistance faced in Iranian courts during trials. This will very likely lead to improper court decisions, which will very likely lead to further persecution of protestors. More people will very likely face wrongful convictions, death sentences, and executions.
Recommendations: Local NGOs, such as Iran Human Rights and Impact Iran, should work with the UN and other international humanitarian organizations, such as the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch, to identify and supply impacted resources. The UN should also support civilians who are seeking refuge or asylum with documentation, shelter, food, water, and medical care. The EU and the US should offer to lift certain sanctions in phases over a period of months or years if the government makes efforts to remedy the conflict without harming its people. NGOs, aid groups, and active leaders should advise protestors and supporters to maintain extreme caution and vigilance. Protestors should also be advised to protect their identities through measures such as using aliases online and shielding identifiable characteristics when protesting in person.
 Iran said to arrest lawyer of detained journalists who covered protests, The Times of Israel, December 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-arrests-lawyer-of-detained-journalists-who-covered-protests-report