Iran and Its Supreme Leader, Sued for Alleged Unlawful Acts of Torture and Other Torts in D.C. Federal Court

 Mr. Akbar Lakestani, who is an Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist, filed a complaint (Case #: 1:21-cv-2232) against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and IRGC Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami for allegedly subjecting him to hostage taking, torture, the denial and delay of medical treatment, attempts to extract coerced false confessions, the denial of due process, and other torts against him.

The following six paragraphs cite some of the allegations from the complaint:

Mr. Lakestani traveled from the U.S. to Iran in September 2019 to visit his elderly mother. Upon crossing the border from Turkey into Iran, he was arrested by Iranian law enforcement officers and accused of speaking out against the Iranian regime. He was repeatedly blindfolded, taken to different detention facilities, denied his diabetes medication, and interrogated.

After being transferred to the IRGC-controlled Central Prison of Urmia in October 2019, he was placed in a hall with prisoners who had been charged with violent criminal offenses. As a result of the unsafe prison conditions, Mr. Lakestani begged in vain to be placed in solitary confinement. He was subsequently charged with cooperating with anti-regime groups and insulting the Supreme Leader.

Mr. Lakestani carried out multiple hunger strikes in response to unsafe prison conditions. After falling unconscious during a hunger strike, he was taken to Imam Khomenei Hospital. There, authorities beat him while his hands and feet were shackled to the hospital bed. Further, he was injected with an unknown substance that rendered him unconscious and transferred to a section of the hospital designated for prisoners, which was windowless and visibly unsanitary.

He was then transferred to Razi Psychiatric Hospital where he was placed in the most dangerous section with violent and unstable patients. He was given medications not prescribed or identified to him, which caused him to sleep excessively. His hands and feet were cuffed so tightly, causing severe shoulder pain and his feet to bleed and become infected.

On November 13, 2019, news of his arrest became widespread and he was temporarily released on bail. While he was subsequently interrogated by the Iranian authorities at least six times, he fled Iran and returned to the U.S. in February 2020.

Today, Mr. Lakestani continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, a sleep disorder, and extreme physical pain caused by his hostage taking and torture by Iran and its agents.

This case is brought under the terrorism exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia through Mr. Lakestani’s attorney, Mr. Ali Herischi of Herischi & Associates, LLC. Mr. Lakestani is asking for compensatory and punitive damages. Mr. Herischi is hopeful that “this case will bring attention to the systematic human rights abuses and domestic terrorism by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.”


Ali Herischi, Esq.

Herischi & Associates, LLC.

(301) 363-4540

Herischi & Associates LLC

Ali Herischi




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Canada – Supreme court of Canada nominee to participate in question-and-answer session

Justice Mahmud Jamal will take part in a virtual question-and-answer session with members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, members of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and a representative of the Green Party of Canada. The session will be moderated by Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Dean of the Civil Law section at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.

Date: Tuesday, June 22

Location: Virtual – media are invited to watch the session at the link below:

Time: 3:30 p.m. (local time)

Supreme Court’s E-Committee releases Manual for its free “e-Courts Services Mobile App” in 14 languages

E-Committee, Supreme Court of India has released Manual for its top citizen-centric service- free “e-Courts Services Mobile app” in 14 languages (English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarathi, Kannada, Khasi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu). “e-Courts Services Mobile app” already released by e-Committee, Supreme Court of India for the benefit of the Litigants, Citizens, Lawyers, Law firms, Police, Government Agencies and other Institutional Litigants has so far crossed 57  lakh downloads.

The mobile app and its manuals in English & regional languages  can be freely downloaded from the official website of the e-Committee, Supreme Court of India .

Dr. Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and the Chairperson of e-Committee,  fore-worded the manual and stressed the importance of this free mobile app and highlighted the reach of this citizen-centric mobile app . He said, “The e-Committee of the Supreme Court has been at the forefront of introducing digital reforms in the field of law. In the past one year, the pandemic has also pushed advocates, judges and litigants to adopt high tech solutions due to the closure of offices and courts in light of lockdowns and public health concerns. Working remotely, virtual courts, digital workplaces and electronic case management have become integral to how the legal profession is practiced and conducted. This has given us a rare opportunity to embrace technology not just as an interim measure but to transform our legal system to make it more efficient, inclusive, accessible and environmentally sustainable. The e-Courts Services Mobile Application is a step in this direction.” He further added that many advocates and litigants have already embraced the services offered through this mobile application with more than 57 lakh downloads so far. The application will pave the way for optimizing our legal system in an ever-evolving digital world”.

Shri Barun Mitra, Secretary, Department of Justice, who has also fore-worded the manual, has highlighted the importance of this Electronic Case Management Tools for the Advocates. He said “As the legal world is gradually turning digital globally, the process of ICT enablement of the judicial landscape in India has concurrently made significant strides.  As an integral part of this multidimensional initiative, the eCourts Services Mobile App has been widely hailed as an effective Electronic Case Management Tool (ECMT).  Its popularity is manifested in the growing number of downloads by lawyers, having already crossed the 57 lakh figure”.

Shri Mitra observed, “Robust Case Management and sound supporting systems are at the core of any well-functioning legal architecture.  ECMT tool enables a lawyer to efficiently manage case information, document assembly, calendaring, time-tracking of case status, accessing judicial decisions, compliance requirements etc. To cap it, ECMT is of immense convenience being available 24 x 7 with no geographical boundaries and easy access on no-cost basis.  The eCourts Services Mobile App with its digital diary features has thus evolved into a must-have tool for lawyers to promote their professional efficiency. Publication of this Manual on eCourts Services Mobile App is yet another laudable step by the eCommittee of the Supreme Court to create large scale awareness of this ECMT and in bringing its benefits to the doorstep of the lawyers’ community.”

The e-Committee manuals released in English and regional languages explain all features with screenshots for easy understanding for the common man. The e-Courts services mobile app Manual in English was translated in regional languages by the in-house Human resource team of the eCommittee, comprising the Master trainers (Judicial Officers & staff) from various High Courts, in coordination with the Central Project Coordinators of the respective High Courts. The said regional language manuals are also made available on the respective High Court websites.

Using the eCourts services mobile application , one can get various citizen-centric services like search for cases with case numbers, CNR numbers, filing numbers, party names, FIR number, advocate details, Acts, etc. case type. Various search types like CNR Search, Case Status Search, Cause List Search also available. One can get the complete case history of the case from the filing until disposal, including the date wise case diary. One can access Orders/ Judgment, Transfer details of the case, interim application status from the mobile app. Through the e-Courts services mobile app- one can get the case status/ case details of both High Courts and District Courts.

The Advocate /Litigant/organization can maintain a digital diary of all cases under “My Cases”, which is the most used and attractive feature for Advocates & Litigants. It can be customized using the My cases option available in it is equivalent to a digital diary for an advocate/ litigant. Using ‘My Cases’, one can add the personal case numbers and can get automatic updates. It is also useful for litigants, firms, companies or organization having multiple cases in different Courts at different places. In ‘My Cases’, one can add his personalized list of cases and get all updates through the eCourts mobile application.

All the e-Courts services are also interlinked with the e-Courts mobile app.

The e-Courts Mobile app is also available in Indian regional languages.

The e-Courts Services mobile App is the personalized digital case diary for litigants/ common citizen/advocates/organization/government department with all the case details available in their hands(set) 24 *7 free of cost.

So During the pandemic, anyone can access the case status, court orders, cause list 24*7 and free of cost through their mobile phone with the e-Courts services mobile app without physically going to the concerned court complex !



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Canada – Supreme Court of Canada rules on the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

What was the case about
In June 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act became law, ensuring that it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada. A price on carbon pollution provides an incentive for climate action and innovation, and in jurisdictions where the federal backstop applies, it puts more money in the pockets of the majority of families. It is a proven, efficient, and cost-effective way of reducing emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions are a matter of national concern because carbon pollution knows no borders. The provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta each challenged the Act on the basis that it is outside federal jurisdiction. The courts of appeal in both Saskatchewan and Ontario upheld the Act, recognizing the federal role in ensuring all provinces and territories work together to fight climate change. The Court of Appeal of Alberta ruled that the Act is unconstitutional.

Saskatchewan and Ontario appealed these decisions to the Supreme Court of Canada. At the same time, the province of British Columbia challenged the finding by the Court of Appeal of Alberta that the Act is not constitutional. The Supreme Court heard these appeals on September 22-23, 2020.

In court, a diverse group of organizations, including doctors, economists, cities, labour, Indigenous groups, the province of British Columbia and young people supported Canada’s case.

On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada found that carbon pollution knows no boundaries and that Parliament has the authority to address it by applying a price on carbon pollution in jurisdictions that do not have their own system that meets minimum national stringency standards.

What does the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act do
The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act fulfills Canada’s commitment to ensure there is a pricing mechanism on greenhouse gas emissions across the country. It implements a federal carbon pollution pricing system that applies as a backstop in those provinces and territories that do not have a carbon pricing system of their own or that have a system that does not meet the federal benchmark.

The federal carbon pollution pricing system has two parts: a charge on fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas – the fuel charge; and a regulatory trading system for industry – the Output-Based Pricing System.

How does Canada’s carbon pollution pricing system work
If it is free to pollute, there will be more pollution. Our plan is simple – it puts a price on the carbon pollution causing climate change and returns all direct proceeds from pricing carbon pollution under the federal system to the jurisdiction in which they were collected. In Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta, the Government of Canada is returning the majority of proceeds directly to households through Climate Action Incentive payments.

When they claim their Climate Action Incentive payment through their tax return this year, a family of four will receive $600 in Ontario, $720 in Manitoba, $1,000 in Saskatchewan and $981 in Alberta. The majority of families in these provinces will get more money back with low-income families benefitting the most.

The remaining proceeds are used to provide support to key sectors, including small- and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, universities, schools, colleges, hospitals, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as Indigenous communities.

When the Government of Canada introduced a price on carbon pollution across Canada, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta already had carbon pricing systems. Since then many of the other provinces and territories have introduced their own pollution pricing systems.

Currently five provinces and territories have their own carbon pollution pricing systems. The federal backstop applies in full in four provinces and territories, and the remaining have a mixture of federal and provincial systems.

Canada’s successful carbon pollution pricing approach is an example of how Canada can meet its economic needs and its environmental goals at the same time.

What are the next steps
Currently the Government is reviewing the standards it uses to assess provincial systems, also known as the federal “benchmark criteria” and is consulting with provinces and territories in order to strengthen that benchmark. Strengthening these standards will help Canada meet and exceed its climate goals while allowing provinces and territories to choose the pricing systems that work best for them.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that the Government can continue to proceed with this work. The decision also means that the Government of Canada can continue to ensure that pollution isn’t free anywhere in the country and put more money in the pockets of the majority of families where the federal system applies.

Each jurisdiction has a label that indicates which system applies, as stated in the table below.

Jurisdiction/System that applies

Newfoundland and Labrador: Provincial carbon tax plus OBPS
Nova Scotia: Cap-and-Trade
Prince Edward Island:Provincial fuel charge, Federal OBPS
New Brunswick: Provincial fuel charge, as of April 1, 2020. Federal OBPS transitioning to provincial OBPS at a time to be determined.
Quebec: Cap-and-trade
Ontario: Federal fuel charge and federal OBPS transitioning to provincial OBPS at a time to be determined.
Manitoba: Federal backstop
Saskatchewan: Federal fuel charge. Provincial OBPS on some sectors, federal OBPS on others.
Alberta: Federal fuel charge. Alberta TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) regulation for industry.
British Columbia: Provincial carbon tax
Yukon: Federal backstop
Northwest Territories: Territorial carbon tax
Nunavut: Federal backstop

Additional Links

Climate Action Incentive Payment Amounts for 2021
A Healthy Environment And A Healthy Economy