Note: This report was initially written in Italian, and it has translated into English by Google Translate.

il Manifesto: On 3 August, moderate president Hasan Rohani will have to hand over the chair of president of the Islamic Republic to the ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi elected last June 18 in the first round, in elections without competitors and therefore without a ballot. In place of Raisi, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei was appointed head of the Iranian judiciary.

For a few days in office , it seems that Ejei has already done damage: on 12 July the Iranian judiciary in fact claimed the right to grant and revoke the licenses to practice the legal profession. The new rules undermine the Bar Association and thus completely destroy the independence of the legal profession. The manifesto heard Iranian lawyers Shadi Sadr and Leila Alikarami, both in exile in the UK, on ​​this issue.

“The new law hits hard on the right to defense, to the point that there is not much room left for those residing in Iran to exercise this fundamental human right,” comments lawyer Shadi Sadr, co-director of the non-governmental organization. “Justice for Iran” based in London whose goal is to address and eradicate the practice of human rights violations and impunity of officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Born in 1974, in a cell in the Evin prison in Tehran from 2007 to 2009, Shadi Sadr adds: «The headquarters of the Bar Association had been occupied by the revolutionary forces in 1981 and until 1997 it was run by a person appointed by the judiciary. It was only in 1997 that there were elections to the committee of directors, for the first time since the 1979 Revolution ”.

Promoter of the “One million signatures” campaign to put pressure against a legal system that penalizes women, as well as Sakharov Fellow 2016, Leila Alikarami recalls how “before the 1979 Revolution the Order operated more or less independently. With the advent of the Islamic Republic, the Iranian authorities have undertaken a series of measures to undermine the Bar Association and control the legal profession. A law promulgated in 1997, for example, gave the Disciplinary Tribunal for Judges the task of approving or rejecting candidates for the Order.

And even today, the new government decree aims to dismantle the Bar Association and give the judiciary all the prerogatives relating to licenses ”. Over the years, adds Alikarami, “restrictions and threats against lawyers in Iran have meant that many lawyers have avoided defending those who are most needed. But in the end, the result was not to put an end to the dissent. On the contrary, the result was the spread of a culture of illegality and contempt for the law, leading to greater tension and confrontation between state and society ”.

Many political prisoners are held in Iranian prisons, and even a few dozen people with dual citizenship, Iranian and Western, used as pawns in the Great Middle Eastern Game and as a bargaining chip: “Diplomacy should prevail and trials should be fair for everyone , not just for those with dual citizenship. Those who practice the legal profession and the exponents of civil society should persevere in compliance with the law regardless of who is at the head of the judiciary ”, explains Alikarami.

In this regard, Shadi Sadr observes: «International pressure always works, and in fact it is one of the few ways to improve respect for human rights in Iran. However, I have some doubts about the political will of Europe in wanting to adopt such a policy in an effective and coherent way. Rather, I have the impression that Europe has other priorities, such as nuclear power, and instead neglects respect for human rights ”. In any case, concludes Sadr, “in a country like Iran the situation can only get worse”.