“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”: This line, uttered by Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare’s “Henry VI,” is probably history’s most famous lawyer joke.
Unfortunately, in Iran it is not a joke, as the Jerusalem Post reports:
Seven lawyers in Tabriz and Mashhad who had been representing young Iranians detained in post-presidential election protests have been killed by the Iranian authorities in recent days, according to sources in Iran.
Their deaths have deterred other lawyers from taking detainees’ cases, they added. . . .
In Tabriz, Iran’s fourth-largest city, the bodies of five lawyers were returned to their families earlier this week, the sources said. The five had been representing some of the hundreds of Iranians detained in the northwestern city during the post-election protests. They were then themselves accused of disrupting security and encouraging unethical actions against the regime, and were sentenced to three years each in jail.
Three of them then died from injuries suffered during their detention. They were so badly beaten that their families could barely recognize their faces, this reporter was told.
The other two--prominent figures in the local community--were executed, having been sentenced to death on trumped-up charges of drug possession, the sources said.
It’s a useful reminder of the evil of the Iranian regime--and a reminder that a society without lawyers is a society without law.
You might say lawyers are like getting old, in that they’re better than the alternative.