On the 17th of February 2017, the Human Rights Litigation Foundation has submitted its first communication to the United Nations in application of its United Nations Programme.
Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali
The alarming situation of Mr. Ahmadreza Djalali, Professor in disaster medicine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, was reported in the press on the 3rd of February 2017.
Mr. Ahmadreza Djalali was arrested on the 25th of April 2016 while he was visiting his family in Iran. Since then, he has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison. It is believed that his arrest and detention are based on false suspicions of collaboration with “enemy States”. During his detention, Mr. Djalali has spent three months in solitary confinement where he has been subjected to intense interrogations and has been forced under great emotional and psychological pressure to sign statements and confessions.
Mr. Ahmadreza Djalali has been denied access to a lawyer for over seven months. The lawyers he appointed afterwards have both been rejected and Mr. Djalali is therefore still without counsel today. Additional elements indicate that the fundamental guarantees of fair trial and due process are at serious risk of being grossly ignored by the Iranian authorities.
In addition, as Mr. Djalali is facing national security-related charges, he may be sentenced to the death penalty. To protest against his arbitrary detention and against the systematic denial of access to legal assistance of his own choosing, Mr. Djalali has also conducted several hunger strikes. The longest lasted 49 days and was followed by the next only three days later. On the 24th of February, he cut off both food and water. Mr. Djalali’s health has therefore seriously deteriorated and his life is now gravely at risk.
Communication to the United Nations
Considering Mr. Ahmadreza Djalali’s life-threatening situation, the Human Rights Litigation Foundation has submitted a communication to the United Nations requesting that a joint urgent appeal be sent to the Iranian authorities by the relevant Special Procedures:
– The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention;
– The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran;
– The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
In doing so, the Foundation hopes that the Islamic Republic of Iran will communicate information on the allegations made and that it may take steps to bring the situation of Mr. Djalali into conformity with the human rights standards and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (that the Islamic Republic of Iran has ratified on 24 June 1975).
Although the success of an urgent appeal highly depends on the State’s willingness to co-operate, the Foundation hopes that it may lead the Iranian authorities, in particular, to :
– Take the measures necessary to ensure that Mr. Djalali’s rights to life, and to physical and mental integrity are respected;
– Ensure that Mr. Djalali has access to qualified medical personnel;
– Take appropriate measures to ensure that Mr. Djalali’s right to a fair trial before an independant and impartial tribunal is respected, notably by ensuring that he has regular contacts with an independent lawyer of his own choosing to prepare adequately his defence;
– Release Mr. Djalali if there is no evidence against him.
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