Najma Rahmani, A Defender Under Threat
Profession: Attorney at law
Place of Work: Alborz Province
Najma Rahmani is a human rights lawyer and a member of the Alborz Province Bar Association. She has represented numerous civil and political activists, including a number of Baha’is arrested in relation to the the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education, student activists, members of the Teachers Union, and human rights lawyer, Abdolfatah Soltani. Najma Rahmani was prosecuted for taking on political and belief-based clients, and for her membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center. On January 4, 2014, Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 15 sentenced her to three years in prison and to a two-year ban from practicing law on the charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center”. Her sentence was commuted to five million Tumans monetary penalty and a two-year ban from practicing law by Tehran Province Court of Appeals Branch 34. Subsequent to this ruling and prior to the issuance of any decision by Lawyers Disciplinary Court, the Alborz Province Bar Association refused to renew Najma Rahmani’s law license. On February 1, 2016, the Lawyers Disciplinary Court for Lawyers banned her from practicing law for five months after finding her guilty of “violating the attorney oath by acting against national security through membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center.”
The DHRC is focused on the following activities:
Provision of pro-bono defense of those accused of political crimes or prisoners of conscience—a number of lawyers and law students assist the DHRC in this respect; 2. Provision of support to the families of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; 3. Development and publication of yearly and quarterly reports on the situation of human rights in Iran; 4. Dissemination of information and convening of press conferences with the aim of raising awareness on human rights issues: 5. Development of Human Rights Groups/Institutions/Organizations; 6. Facilitation of dialogue between various intellectuals and activists in the area of human rights and the provision of human rights.
“As far as I am aware, previously Mr. Nasser Zarafshan in the case of the chain murders of dissidents, Mr. Seyfzadeh, Mr. Soltani, Ms. Sotoudeh, Mr. Mohammad Najafi, and Masud Shamsnejad all have received suspension sentences or bans from practicing law… if the Bar associations remain passive and effectively undermine their independence, there is a risk that part of the justice system becomes even more emboldened in issuing such unlawful sentences. There are only a few lawyers in different cities who take on the cases of civil rights activists and this is due to the pressures and restrictions that they may face, or they believe they would face if they did so. Issuing such sentences means that civil rights activists’ access to lawyers is exceedingly on the decline...”
Najma Rahmani speaking to Bidarzani