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Defense Attorney In Iran Complaining Of Torture Threatened With Arrest

Jamaluddin Heydari, Lawyer of activist Sepideh Qolian. File photo

An independent labor union in Iran reports that the defense attorney of a jailed activist, who has complained about torture in prison, has been threatened with arrest on Saturday, August 10.

The activist Sepideh Qolian (Gholian) was arrested for a second time in January, after she complained of torture during her first jailing in November-December 2018.

In the latest court session, Qolian protested that her confessions were taken during torture and she rejects the charges made on this basis. Her defense attorney Jamaluddin Heydari also protested about torture and dismissed the evidence.

The presiding judge questioned the attorney’s statement as an attempt to cast doubt on security and intelligence organs and threatened him with arrest.

Security and intelligence organs in Iran are free from any accountability to the media or parliament and often operate as they wish. In recent years the situation has worsened as the Islamic Revolution Guard (IRGC) Intelligence Organization has intensified its actions against dissidents, journalists, activists and labor leaders.

Qolian was defending the workers of a sugarcane processing plant in the oil-rich Khuzestan province who were on strike last year. She was arrested along with a labor leader Esmail Bakhshi last November and released in December. When Qolian and Bakhshi publicly accused security agencies of torture, they were re-arrested in January and are facing trials on ambiguous charges.