A group of Iranian lawyers and law professors have sent a letter to the head of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary to protest "arbitrary” decisions by judicial authorities to prevent defense counsels from entering courtrooms.
They said that preventing lawyers from defending their clients in court is “a clear example of extra-judicial behavior."
"Some judges and special courts, especially in political and security cases, prevent lawyers from participating in the preliminary investigation stage using unjustified excuses," the letter reads.
The protest letter was written as the authorities are cracking down on nationwide demonstrations. Security forces have killed more than 500 people and arrested over 18,000 since the protest movement erupted in September, according to activists.
Around 20 people have been handed capital punishment in connection with the protests, and four young men have been executed so far. Many demonstrators have been sentenced to long prison terms.
According to the Islamic Republic’s constitution, lawyers should attend the court hearings when the defendant faces charges that carry the death penalty, the lawyers said in their letter.
"Since the  revolution, disturbances and obstacles have always been created in various ways to prevent the implementation of this progressive principle of the constitution," they added.
"Unfortunately, we have seen that during recent arrests, which are mainly political, these arbitrary behaviors have happened more than in the past."