find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Lawyers call for release of Baha’i leaders

Lawyers call for release of Baha’i leaders


An open letter calling for the immediate release of seven Baha’i leaders who have been jailed in Iran since 2008 has been signed by 26 prominent Australian lawyers and the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights organisation.

Last week, Hon John Dowd launched the letter at NSW Parliament House, which is addressed to Iran’s ambassador to Australia, and urges Iran to uphold the rule of law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has ratified.

The signatories of the open letter include 16 Senior Counsel and Queen’s Counsel as well as senior legal academics, human rights specialists and other leading members of the profession (full list below).

Among them is barrister Julian McMahon, who acted for the executed Bali nine ringleaders and was named as the Victorian Australian of the Year 2016.

Hon Catherine Branson QC, Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Julian Burnside AO QC, Bret Walker SC, Noel Hutley SC, Jane Needham and Professor George Williams AO all also put pen to paper.

On 14 May 2008 seven prominent members of Iran’s Baha’i community were arrested and incarcerated in Iran’s infamous Evin prison.

Following 20 months of illegal detention they were put on trial, accused of espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic and other alleged crimes and were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In November 2015, their prison term was reduced to 10 years, due to the delayed application of a national penal code adopted in 2013, which states that sentences should be served concurrently instead of consecutively. Under the terms of the new penal code, the seven are also now eligible for conditional release.

The letter notes that the seven had initially been imprisoned without charge and then had a "trial" involving six brief, closed court sessions.

"To this day, they have not been presented with formal charges or a judgement in writing, in clear violation of the Iranian constitution and the most basic requirements of procedural fairness and natural justice," the letter reads.

"Their lawyers were orally advised of their sentencing to 20 years in prison – the longest terms of any prisoners of conscience in Iran – on vague charges for which no evidence has ever been presented."

The co-signatories are:

Hon John Dowd AO QC

Hon Catherine Branson QC

Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP

Julian Burnside AO QC

Jane Needham SC

Noel Hutley SC

Bret Walker SC

Garry Rich SC

Robert Leonard Crowe SC

Winston Terracini SC

John Stratton SC

Jeremy Gormly SC

Terence Tobin QC

Barry Toomey QC

Peter Wertheim AM

Ian Lacey AM

Dr Sarah Pritchard

Dr Keith Thompson

Prof George Williams AO

Prof Michael Quinlan

Prof Iain T. Benson

Julian McMahon

Philip Lynch

Stephen Freeman

Elaine Pearson

Rodger M.A. Chongwe, S.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers call for release of Baha’i leaders
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...