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Amirsalar Davoudi released temporarily on bail after spending two years and seven months in detention

Status: 
Released on Bail
About the situation

On 13 June 2021, human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi was released on  bail of 20 billion IRR from Rajaie Shahr prison in Alborz province. His temporary release is followed by the decision of Branch 41 of the Supreme Court to accept the human rights defender’s request for retrial, due to irregularities in the legal process of his trial. Consequently, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary court has been assigned for the retrial of the human rights defender. The first court session is scheduled for 20 June 2021.

On 16 April 2021, human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi, currently imprisoned in Rajae Shahr prison, was transferred from solitary confinement to a public ward. The human rights defender had spent three days in solitary confinement following his transfer to the prison from Evin prison on 13 April 2021. The transferring of prisoners without notice or explanation, a tactic which the prison authorities in Iran have resorted to with increasing frequency in the first four months of 2021, continues to be used, despite official recommendations not to travel to some provinces due to COVID-19, and has reportedly exposed those prisoners being transferred to increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Amirsalar Davoudi was arrested on 20 November 2018 by security agents in his law office and on 28 May 2019, he learned that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran had sentenced him to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, on account of six charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to his human rights work.

About Amirsalar Davoudi

Amirsalar Davoudi is a human rights defender and a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Iranian Bar Association. In his work as a human rights lawyer, Amirsalar Davoudi has represented many detained human rights defenders and political prisoners. The human rights defender is also the founder and director of a Telegram Channel, "Without Retouching," featuring a variety of critical content about the authorities’ treatment of lawyers in particular and more generally, the human rights situation in Iran.

4 August 2021
Human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi’s sentence upheld despite Supreme Court ruling for retrial

On 31 July 2021, the lawyer of Amirsalar Davoudi announced that on 18 July Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court made their decision to uphold the verdict of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court from May 2019 against the human rights defender, corresponding to 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, quashing the Supreme Court’s earlier decision for retrial. According to Art. 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the human rights defender must serve the most severe single sentence, which in his case is 15 years for “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”. The lawyer of the human rights defender has announced that they have appealed the decision of Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, which they found to be in utter contradiction with the opinion of Branch 41 of the Supreme Court.

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Amirsalar Davoudi is a human rights defender and a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Iranian Bar Association. In his work as a human rights lawyer, Amirsalar Davoudi has represented many detained human rights defenders and political prisoners. The human rights defender is also the founder and director of a Telegram Channel, "Without Retouching," featuring a variety of content about the Iranian authorities’ treatment of lawyers in particular and more generally, the human rights situation in Iran.

On 13 June 2021, human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi was released on bail for 20 billion IRR from Rajaie Shahr prison in Alborz province. His temporary release was followed by the decision of Branch 41 of the Supreme Court to accept the human rights defender’s request for retrial, due to irregularities in the legal process of his trial. Consequently, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary court was assigned for the retrial of the human rights defender. The first court session was rescheduled from 20 June 2021 to 13 July 2021.

On 14 April 2021, Amirsalar Davoudi’s lawyer announced that the human rights defender’s request for a retrial was accepted by the Supreme Court, and his case was sent back to the Revolutionary Court.

Amirsalar Davoudi was initially arrested on 20 November 2018 by security agents in his law office. On 28 May 2019, the human rights defender learned that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran had sentenced him to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, on account of six charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to his human rights work. The charges are in connection to media interviews the human rights defender had given and posts he had uploaded to his Telegram channel. According to Art. 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Amirsalar Davoudi must serve the most severe single sentence, which in his case is 15 years for “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern with regards to the quashing of the Supreme Court’s decision for a retrial of Amirsalar Davoudi. Front Line Defenders believes the human rights defender has been targeted in reprisal for his peaceful and legitimate efforts to promote and protect human rights in Iran and for practicing his profession by representing the prisoners with security related charges.

15 June 2021
Amirsalar Davoudi released temporarily on bail after spending two years and seven months in detention

On 13 June 2021, human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi was released on  bail of 20 billion IRR from Rajaie Shahr prison in Alborz province. His temporary release is followed by the decision of Branch 41 of the Supreme Court to accept the human rights defender’s request for retrial, due to irregularities in the legal process of his trial. Consequently, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary court has been assigned for the retrial of the human rights defender. The first court session is scheduled for 20 June 2021.

Amirsalar Davoudi was initially arrested on 20 November 2018 by security agents in his law office. On 28 May 2019 he learned that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran had sentenced him to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, on account of six charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader”,“spreading propaganda against the system” and “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to his human rights work. The charges were in connection to media interviews he had given and posts he had uploaded to his Telegram channel. According to Art. 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Amirsalar Davoudi would have served the most severe single sentence, which in his case was 15 years for “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”.

4 May 2021
Ongoing detention of human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi

On 16 April 2021, human rights defender Amirsalar Davoudi, currently imprisoned in Rajae Shahr prison, was transferred from solitary confinement to a public ward. The human rights defender had spent three days in solitary confinement following his transfer to the prison from Evin prison on 13 April 2021. The transferring of prisoners without notice or explanation, a tactic which the prison authorities in Iran have resorted to with increasing frequency in the first four months of 2021, continues to be used, despite official recommendations not to travel to some provinces due to COVID-19, and has reportedly exposed those prisoners being transferred to increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Amirsalar Davoudi is a human rights defender and a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Iranian Bar Association. In his work as a human rights lawyer, Amirsalar Davoudi has represented many detained human rights defenders and political prisoners. The human rights defender is also the founder and director of a Telegram Channel, "Without Retouching," featuring a variety of critical content about the authorities’ treatment of lawyers in particular and more generally, the human rights situation in Iran.

On 16 April 2021, Amirsalar Davoudi was transferred to a public ward in Rajae Shahr prison from solitary confinement, where he had been held for three days. The human rights defender was placed in solitary confinement following his transfer from Evin prison on 13 April 2021. When Amirsalar Davoudi was informed he was being transferred from Evin prison in Tehran to Rajae Shahr prison in Alborz province, he was not provided with an explanation by the prison authorities and was not given the opportunity to pack his belongings.

On 14 April 2021, Amirsalar Davoudi’s lawyer announced that the human rights defender’s request for a re-trial had been accepted by the Supreme Court, and that his case will be sent back to the Revolutionary Court. A date is yet to be set for the re-trial. Amirsalar Davoudi was initially arrested on 20 November 2018 by security agents in his law office and on 28 May 2019, he learned that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran had sentenced him to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, on account of six charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to his human rights work. The charges are in connection to media interviews he had given and posts he had uploaded to his Telegram channel. According to Art. 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Amirsalar Davoudi must serve the most severe single sentence, which in his case is 15 years for “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”.

From 17-23 March 2021, together with human rights defender Baktash Abtin, also detained in Evin prison, Amirsalar Davoudi began a hunger strike to protest the recent trend of transferring detained human rights defenders and political prisoners from Evin prison to prisons in other provinces, over the course of the past four months. They announced their hunger strike as an act of protest against the limitation of the rights to family visitation and the exposure of the human rights defenders to higher risk of contraction of COVID-19 despite the general recommendations not to travel. In particular, Baktash Abtin and Amirsalar Davoudi were protesting the multiple transfers of fellow human rights defender Esmail Abdi, before he was ultimately transferred from Evin prison to the Central Prison of Alborz. The transfers occurred despite the official recommendations not to travel to some provinces, and have reportedly exposed those being transferred to increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been reports of a vast number of COVID-19 cases in prisons throughout Iran, with severe overcrowding heightening the risk of contracting the virus. Additionally, the failure by prison authorities to implement sufficient prevention and protection measures in addition to discriminatory access to medical furloughs, have exposed human rights defenders to higher risk of contraction of COVID-19 in prison.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern over the prison transfer of Amirsalar Davoudi. Front Line Defenders reiterates its belief that the imprisonment of the human rights defender is in reprisal for his peaceful and legitimate efforts to promote and protect human rights in Iran.

7 April 2021
Amirsalar Davoudi in Hunger Strike Protest; Baktash Abtin Admitted to Prison Clinic

On 4 April 2021, human rights defender Baktash Abtin was transferred to the clinic in Evin prison. The human rights defender initially tested negative for COVID-19 on 2 April 2021, however a CT scan two days later showed that he was suffering from pneumonia possibly linked to COVID-19. The human rights defender is reportedly in a critical condition, with requests from his lawyer and family for medical parole so far unanswered. From 17-23 March 2021, together with human rights defender and lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi, also detained in Evin prison, Baktash Abtin began a hunger strike to protest the recent trend of transferring detained human rights defenders and political prisoners from Evin prison to prisons in other provinces, over the course of the past three months.

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Baktash Abtin is a human rights defender, film director and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA), which aims to promote freedom of speech and denounce censorship in Iran, and has published numerous books on history, sociology and literary criticism. On 15 May 2019, Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Baktash Abtin to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “illegal assembly and collusion against national security” and one year for “spreading propaganda against the state”, in relation to his joint authorship of a book on the history of the IWA, which has been critical of successive Iranian governments for decades, and visiting the graves of dissident poets and writers. He began serving his six-year sentence on 26 September 2020.

Amirsalar Davoudi is a human rights defender and a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Iranian Bar Association. In his work as a human rights lawyer, Amirsalar Davoudi has represented many detained human rights defenders and political prisoners. The human rights defender is also the founder and director of a Telegram Channel, "Without Retouching," featuring a variety of critical content about the authorities’ treatment of lawyers in particular and more generally, the human rights situation in Iran.

Amirsalar Davoudi was arrested on 20 November 2018 by security agents in his law office and on 28 May 2019, he learned that Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran had sentenced him to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment and 111 lashes, on account of six charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” in relation to his human rights work. The charges are in connection to media interviews he had given and posts he had uploaded to his Telegram channel. According to Art. 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Amirsalar Davoudi must serve the most severe single sentence, which in his case is 15 years for “forming a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”.

On 17 March 2021, Baktash Abtin and Amirsalar Davoudi began a hunger strike to protest the increasing trend of transferring detained human rights defenders and political prisoners to predominantly remote prisons, where their rights to family visitation tend to be limited. In particular, Baktash Abtin and Amirsalar Davoudi were protesting the multiple transfers of fellow human rights defender Esmail Abdi, before he was ultimately transferred from Evin prison to the Central Prison of Alborz. The transfers have occurred despite the recommendations not to travel to some provinces, and have reportedly exposed those being transferred to increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been reports of a vast number of COVID-19 cases in prisons throughout Iran, with severe overcrowding heightening the risk of contracting the virus. Additionally, the failure by prison authorities to implement sufficient prevention and protection measures in addition to discriminatory access to medical furloughs, have exposed human rights defenders to higher risk of contraction of COVID-19 in prison.

Despite having tested negative for COVID-19 on 2 April 2021, Baktash Abtin’s pulmonary CT scan on 4 April displayed signs that he was suffering from COVID-19 related pneumonia and so he was transferred to the prison clinic. It is reported that the Evin prison authorities have so far refused to test Baktash Abtin’s two inmates, prior to his transfer to the clinic, for COVID-19. In a telephone call on 5 April, the human rights defender could hardly speak due to his difficulty breathing and his condition was reported as critical. Baktash Abtin’s pre-existing pulmonary conditions make his current condition particularly concerning.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned by the failure of prison authorities in Evin prison to respond efficiently and effectively to the display of COVID-19 symptoms by human rights defender Baktash Abtin and other prisoners. The organisation is particularly concerned, given the vulnerable health condition of the defender, his pre-existing pulmonary problems and the living conditions for detainees in the prison. Front Line Defenders believes that the treatment of Baktash Abtin in Evin prison, and the denial of access to medical furlough and necessary medication, is solely due to his peaceful and legitimate work in defense of human rights in Iran.