Statement from the CBA President Steeves Bujold on the situation in Iran

  • January 23, 2023

On the eve of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the Canadian Bar Association calls on the regime in Iran to release all lawyers imprisoned for carrying out their professional duties and to ensure all members of the legal profession can carry out their professional function without harassment and improper interference, including judicial harassment.

While the harassment and imprisonment of Iranian lawyers is not a new phenomenon, numerous lawyers in Iran have raised concerns regarding their inability to represent the thousands of protestors imprisoned over the past few months. According to reports, these protestors are denied the right to counsel and are tried in groups at without-notice, fast-tracked prosecutions behind closed doors, in the absence of their lawyers of choice. Dozens of lawyers have been imprisoned for defending their clients because their clients are political prisoners. 

Civilian protesters and political prisoners should not fear state violence, arbitrary arrest, and sham criminal trials, and neither should the lawyers who defend them.

The right to counsel is a fundamental component of the rule of law. We stand in support of Iranian lawyers in their efforts on behalf of detainees who are systemically denied due process, including the detainees’ fundamental right to freely choose their counsel.