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Executed Iranian Activist's Lawyer Criticizes Judiciary

Farzad Kamangar

Farzad Kamangar

The lawyer for a recently executed Iranian activist has criticized the country's judiciary for its treatment of political cases, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Khalil Bahramian represented Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar, who was hanged along with four other prisoners at dawn on May 9.

Kamangar was sentenced to death following a February 2008 trial lasting only seven minutes. He repeatedly denied prosecutors' allegations of involvement with a Kurdish nationalist group, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

But his attorney, Bahramian, told Radio Farda via phone from Tehran on May 9 that Kamangar was not a member of the PJAK. He claims that even Kamangar's state interrogator came to the conclusion that he had not worked with the banned group.

Bahramian told Radio Farda that Iran's judiciary is currently run by radicals. He also said the country's courts act arbitrarily.

"While nonpolitical cases are examined by five-judge [panels], political [cases] -- which are concerned with a person's thoughts, existence, and
integrity -- are examined by one judge, who even lacks sufficient judicial knowledge," he said. "It is [this judge] who decides a person's life or death."

Iran's judiciary is divided into two branches, the public courts and the revolutionary courts. The revolutionary courts handle political and security

Kamangar and the other four other prisoners were sentenced to death by a revolutionary court. Another client of Bahramian, 29-year-old activist Shirin Alam-Holi, was also among those hanged on May 9.

Bahramian says that according to Iran's Constitution, political and media-related offenses should be tried openly in the presence of a jury. But he
said this procedure is not being followed.

Bahramian said a gross violation of procedure took place shortly before Kamangar's execution. He told Radio Farda he also was not notified in advance of his client's execution.

"I went to the General-Prosecutor's Office to see what had happened to my appeal request, but I was told that they had not received [Kamangar's] case yet," Bahramian said.

But the death sentence was still carried out. It is not uncommon in Iran for lawyers not to be informed of their clients' impending execution.

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