Seven Rights Activists Denied Legal Counsel After Being Arrested by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry

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Seven civil rights activists detained in Evin Prison since February 1, 2018, have been denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.

A source with firsthand knowledge of the cases identified the detainees as Behnam Mousivand, Shima Babaei, Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Saeed Seifijahan, Mahmoud Masoumi and Nader Afshari.

“They are all being held in solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry’s Ward 209,” said the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons. “They all got permission to briefly contact their families by phone and received one visit but none of them have lawyers.”

“The interrogators have been instructed not to call any lawyers and the detainees have been told they cannot have lawyers during the interrogation phase,” added the source.

According to Article 48 of Iran’s Criminal Procedures Regulations, detainees have the right to ask for and have a meeting with a lawyer as soon as they are detained.

But the Note to Article 48 also permits judicial authorities to delay an individual’s access to a lawyer by up to a week in cases involving alleged “crimes against the country’s domestic and foreign security.”

The seven civil rights activists have been in state custody for more than three weeks.

The accusations against the seven include “propaganda against the state,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” “insulting the supreme leader” and “contacts with foreign media.”

According to the source, Shima Babaei was arrested for supporting the “White Wednesdays” anti-compulsory-hijab campaign. The others were taken into custody for sharing news and information about political prisoners and Iran’s December 2017 protests.

Mousivand was previously arrested for his peaceful activities on a number of occasions. Most recently, he was released in June 2017 from Rajaee Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj after serving a year for “propaganda against the state.”

Mousivand did not appear to be physically well when his mother visited him on February 15, 2018, the source added.

According to the source, the Intelligence Ministry also briefly detained Zand and Masoumi in 2016.

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