UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Releases Decision on Saeed Malekpour

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has released their decision on Saeed Malekpour, for whom the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights served as International Legal Counsel.

The landmark legal decision by UN experts confirmed that his detention was not only unjust, arbitrary and illegal, but that his treatment may have been constitutive of broader crimes against humanity and that it was an egregious violation of international law for which Mr. Malekpour should be entitled to compensation.

His case was referred to various UN special rapporteurs including those on freedom of opinion and expression, torture, independence of judges and lawyers, and human rights.

The UN decision indicates that the charges against Saeed –  designed to persecute and prosecute Iranian human rights defenders more broadly – violate the principle of legality, that: laws must be formulated with sufficient precision so that the individual can access and understand the law. Also indicating that his persecution is indicative of the pattern and practice of “targeting foreign nationals, dual nationals, and Iranian nationals with permanent residence in another country, for prosecution.”

The decision also highlights the ongoing unabated systemic practice of torture in Khomeini’s Iran, finding there to be clear and explicit evidence that Saeed was tortured repeatedly, both physically and psychologically. Moreover, it even pointed to evidence that the magistrate assigned to Saeed’s case had overseen many of the torture sessions, demonstrating a gross lack of independence in the judiciary and perversion of the rule of law.

The UN decision is not only extremely moving and meaningful for Saeed – a man who languished at the hands of a corrupt and unjust government for over a decade – and his family, but is also an immensely important milestone in the pursuit of justice.