Lily Mazahery in 2007, Washington D.C.
October 10, 1972|
|Occupation||Lawyer (suspended), founder and president of the Legal Rights Institute, founder and principal of the Mazahery Law Firm|
|Known for||Representing high profile political dissidents and victims of human rights abuse, international human rights activism|
Lily Mazahery (born October 10, 1972) is an Iranian-American lawyer (suspended), formerly a human rights activist, and a source on Iran. She is principal of Mazahery Law Firm and the founder and president of Legal Rights Institute (LRI), a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Mazahery received her Juris Doctor in 1999 and was admitted to the District of Columbia bar on December 2, 2002. Her license to practice law was suspended on November 16, 2011 due to claims of disability. She is also pending disciplinary before the DC Court of Appeals on the basis of misrepresenting prominent human rights victims, including Ahmad Batebi. An Ad Hoc Committee of the DC Court of Appeals has so far recommended that she be disbarred.
Prior to her suspension, Mazahery's practice primarily focused on immigration law. She assisted individuals who had been victims of human rights violations in Iran and other countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Mazahery also advocated for equal rights for women in Islamic countries, including the abolishment of stoning as a form of execution and honour killings.
Prior to the suspension of her law license, Mazahery worked on women's rights issues and their violation by oppressive regimes, notably women and girls who have been unjustly placed on death row in Islamic countries. She was selected as a celebrity judge for HAMSA's The "Dream Deferred" essay contest on Civil Rights in the Middle East along with feminist Gloria Steinem, and Dr. Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and a professor at Johns Hopkins University. Mazahery has, however, been the subject of controversy. Specifically, an Ad Hoc Committee of a DC Court of Appeals found that Mazahery had failed to properly handle donations that were provided to her to assist Akram Mahdavi, a woman on death row in Iran.
Mazahery has also publicly opposed Islamic Law, Sharia and particularly stoning for executions, which are carried out in certain countries that observe Sharia, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In a speech delivered to members of the United States Congress in 2006, Mazahery provided a description of stoning executions. In the same speech, Mazahery condemned Iran's government for committing a variety of inhumane acts against its own people, and called upon American lawmakers to take "immediate and concrete steps" that would force Iranian officials to permanently ban stoning executions.
Mazahery has been an opponent of human rights violations in Iran. In various public speaking engagements, Mazahery specifically identified Iran's president, Ahmadinejad, for blatant disregard of international human rights treaties to which Iran is a signatory and demanded international action to stop the violations. She publicly opposed Iran's clerical regime and Mohammad Khatami, the former president of Iran. In 2006, she publicly opposed Khatami's speech at Harvard University. In September 2008, at the same time that Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak at the United Nations headquarters, Mazahery spoke as an expert source on Iran in a number of venues in New York and Washington DC, including before a panel in the United States Congress. In Spring 2008, Mazahery helped Iranian dissident Ahmad Batebi flee Iran for the U.S., where he was granted political asylum.
She also led panels at the World Technology Summit in New York City in 2009 and 2010 about the usage of technology to promote democracy and human rights by activists living under the rule of oppressive regimes.
In her most recent book, "One Can Make A Difference: Original stories by the Dalai Lama, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Dennis Kucinich, Russel Simmons, Brigitte Bardot and Dozens of Other Extraordinary Indiv.iduals" PETA founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk, included a chapter on Mazahery's work on behalf of Iranian women who were persecuted based on their gender, including some who had been sentenced to execution by stoning on charges of adultery. In a November 2008 interview, Newkirk was asked whether she favored any particular essay over others in her new book. She responded with the following explanation:
I think the one by Lily Mazahery — an essay on Iranian women who are stoned to death or buried alive for being in the company of a man or even a boy and suspected of having had a sexual intercourse. She’s helping them enormously from her daily work in Washington, D.C. Instead of just going about her daily work, she has carved a lifeline for these women and literally tries her very best to save their lives with what she does.
Suspension of License to Practice Law
On September 15, 2011, an Ad Hoc Hearing Committee of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Board of Professional Responsibility, issued an opinion finding that that Mazahery had committed "multiple acts of dishonesty and even criminal conduct." The opinion related to allegations of misconduct stemming from Mazahery's representation of human rights advocates Ahmad Batebi and Kianoosh Sanjari and mishandling of funds relating to execution of Akram Mahdavi. The Hearing Committee held that Mazahery committed 23 violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended that she be disbarred. The ruling included one dissenting opinion which believed that Mazahery should not be disbarred but that her bar membership should be suspended for three years. On November 16, 2011, Mazahery's bar membership was suspended on an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, § 13(e), which holds that "if in the course of a disciplinary proceeding, the attorney claims to be suffering from a disability because of mental or physical illness or infirmity, or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, which makes it impossible for the attorney to present an adequate defense, the Court shall enter an order immediately suspending the attorney from the practice of law until a determination is made of the attorney's capacity to practice law in a proceeding under subsection (c) of this section., claim of disability by attorney." As a result of the suspension, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has not ruled on the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendation.
References and notes
- http://fora.tv/speaker/10951/Lily_Mazahery FORA.tv,A Brave New World: How New Media Impacts Social Change - List of Speakers
- "List of Experts on Iran".
- Hentoff, Nat (September 19, 2006). "A Marriage Made in Hell: Iranians and Iraqis work together to advance an evil cause". Lily Mazahery: Rescuing women condemned for "impurity". "Mazahery has worked to bring sunlight to the names and fates of individual victims of the barbaric Islamic regime in Iran. " (The Village Voice). Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "No More Stones! An image by Lily Mazahery". Love America First. August 10, 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "The International Campaign Against Honour Killings". Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Middle East Human Rights Activists -- HAMSA Speakers Bureau".
- "The Dream Deferred Judges.".
- Kurtz, Howard (September 21, 2006). "The President's New Direction". The Washington Post.
- Hentoff, Nat (September 12, 2006). "Stoning Women to Death -- Coming soon to the United Nations: Iran's chief executioner of women". The Village Voice.
- Mazahery, Lily (April 18, 2006). "Lily Mazahery -- Text of Speech Before Members of Congress on International Women's Day Concerning Human Rights Violations of Women in Iran".
- "A Closer Look At Iran's Foreign And Domestic Policies And Its Nuclear Program.".
- Mazahery, Lily (September 11, 2006). "IRAN - Lily Mazahery Responds to Khatami At Harvard University". Persian Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-12.[dead link]
- Hentoff, Nat (September 19, 2006). "A Marriage Made in Hell Iranians and Iraqis work together to advance an evil cause". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Ahamadinejad at the U.N.: An International Affront". Foundation for Defense of Democracies. September 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Expert Sources on Iran - The Israel Project". Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "A Closer Look at Iran's Foreign and Domestic Policies and Its Nuclear Program". The Israel Project. September 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- Shane, Scott; Michael Gordon (July 13, 2008). "Dissident’s Tale of Epic Escape From Iran’s Vise". " Batebi contacted Mazaerhy through a Yahoo chat site. (The New York Times). Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "A Brave New World: How New Media Impacts Social Change".
- "Social Networks & Societal Revolution: what happened/is happening in Iran?".
- Newkirk, Ingrid (September 17, 2008). "One Can Make a Difference: Original stories by the Dali Lama, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Dennis Kucinch, Russel Simmons and Dozens of Other Extraordinary Individuals (Hardcover)". Adams Media. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Stern, Henry (November 19, 2008). "Interview with Ingrid Newkirk". Williamtte Week. Portland, Oregon's News Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Lily Mazahery's official Twitter page.
- charges against Lily Mazahery for ethics violations
- Opinion by Ad Hoc Hearing Committee of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Board of Professional Responsibility
- news report
- transcript of speech on human rights situation in Iran
- New York Times Article on Lily Mazahery and Ahmad Batebi
- law office listing
- Village Voice article
- UK Channel 4 News Video Clip on Ahmad Batebi and his human rights work with the help of his lawyer, Lily Mazahery
- Among first to report Delara Darabi's execution.
- First to report Roxana Saberi's release
- Conversation with Delara Darabi's father
- Quoted on new media
- Appearance at 2009 World Technology Summit
- Role in Ahmad Batebi's settling in USA
- Quoted at Sarah Palin's blog
- Quoted re: treatment of journalists in Iran
- Quoted re: human rights violations in Iran