The First Thing We Do . . . :Leading Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Nine Years

Iranian “courts” have continued their attack on the rule of law by ordering the jailing of leading human rights attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. Dadkhah has shown great courage in representing dissidents, including Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor charged with apostasy and sentenced to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. Dahkhah was actually in court defending an individual when the judge announced his own sentence to nine years in prison.

Dadkhah was convicted of “acting against national security” in Iran, which is what the Sharia-based courts call representing dissidents and fighting for the rule of law. Dadkhah also says that he was convicted of “keeping banned books at home.” In addition to his jail, he will be barred from teaching at universities or practicing law for 10 years.

In my view, the American Bar Association needs to do more in recognizing the persecution of lawyers like Dadkhah and condemning these types of cases. Dadkhah’s conviction is an international outrage by a nation set upon destroying the rule of law on the altar of religious orthodoxy.

Source: Guardian

10 thoughts on “The First Thing We Do . . . :Leading Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced To Nine Years”

  1. After considering this a bit, it seems to me that one of the problems here is that, rightly or wrongly, Iran IS Iran. As simple as that may sound, the fact is that they are a nation and as such they have a completely different set of values, ergo, a different legal system than we have. Plus, thanks to the Bush administration and the so-called ‘war on terror’, we have lost any kind of moral compass (think torture, false imprisonment, GITMO) and, with that, any right to speak about what is just and what is not. What Iran (and it’s associated states) does, while it might be anathema to US, is consistent with their laws and the religion on which those laws is based. After the past ten years, we no longer have the right to point the finger. We need to clean our OWN house before we begin screaming about the dirt in someone elses house. Before we can credibly argue FOR human rights, we need to correct our OWN human rights abuses.

  2. I agree, that law organizations, or some, or one, should organize to be able to be a voice in such human-rights cases. Tuff not to turn political, but a voice for neither side, but human-right’s abuses.

  3. I was being facetious about bombing Iran. Bush had the wrong I country (eye country) and went after Iraq. But Iran needs to be treated like a big leper colony.

  4. You think it can’t happen here?

    “Stewart was admitted to the NY State Bar on January 31, 1977[6] and for much of her career as a lawyer, Stewart has represented a number of economically disadvantaged clients as well as more high profile cases. Stewart is a self described “movement lawyer”[7] who took a wider interest in promoting the general political interests of those she represented, rather than only dealing with the specific charges against them”

    “As part of Stewart’s defense of Rahman, and her serving for several years on post-conviction issues, she was subject to modified “special administrative measures” which govern communications between suspects and their legal counsel. ” [surreptitious recording of attorney/client communications]

    “Stewart said that the dispute was over one communication on behalf of her client to his supporters via a Reuters article, followed by a clarification after it appeared to have been misinterpreted. The clarification said: “I [Omar Abdel-Rahman] am not withdrawing my support of the cease-fire, I am merely questioning it and I am urging you, who are on the ground there to discuss it and to include everyone in your discussions as we always have done.
    According to Judge John G. Koeltl, in denying Stewart’s motion to reject the verdict as unfounded,

    A rational jury could have inferred that, by relaying a statement withdrawing support for a cessation of violence by an influential, pro-violence leader of a terrorist group, Stewart knew that she was providing support to those within the IG (Islamic Group) who sought to return to violence—who the jury could have found were participants in the Count Two conspiracy, particularly Taha.

    [26] Michael Tigar, her attorney, stated that “that this case really is a threat to all the lawyers who are out there attempting to represent people that face these terrible consequences”[25] Supporters of Stewart alleged that the government charged her for her speech in defending the rights of her client. They believed that Stewart’s efforts to release communications from her client were part of an appropriate defense method to gain public awareness and support. They also expressed alarm that wiretaps and hidden cameras authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were used by the Government to gather evidence against her, which they called a violation of attorney–client privilege. George Soros’ Open Society Institute also donated $20,000 to Stewart’s legal defense fund in 2002.[28] Commenting on her case, human rights organization Front Line states that it “has had a chilling effect on human rights defenders who stand between government agencies and potential victims of abuses.”[29]”

    “The renowned veteran First Amendment lawyer Herald Price Fahringer contested the new sentence [28 months changed to 10 years], bringing the case back to the Court of Appeals. On February 29, 2012, in a courtroom packed with Stewart’s supporters, Fahringer presented oral argument based on freedom of speech. The same three-judge panel that had ordered the resentencing presided, skeptically probing his argument. But Fahringer insisted that out-of-court comments on a public issue cannot be punished with enhanced imprisonment, suggesting that otherwise “no one will be able to comment after a sentence for fear that the same thing could happen to them.”

    Lynn Stewart is currently serving her 10 years.

  5. If only cheney, bush, Gonzales, Bebee and yoo only knew it could be so easy…..

  6. Yes TD, because that will solve everything. Spread a great deal of death and needless suffering around to a lot of people and all our troubles are gone. Look how well that has worked in Iraq

  7. Saturday Night Live had it correct 30 years ago:

    Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran….
    Oh, bomb Iraaaaaan,
    I’ll take my staaaaand,
    Rockin and rollin, rockin and a reeling bomb Iran!

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