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Jailed Lawyer: 'No Fair Political Trials' In Iran

Imprisoned Iranian lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh
Imprisoned Iranian lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh
Jailed Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Mohammad Seifzadeh has written an open letter to former President Mohammad Khatami detailing extensive violations of judicial rights, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Seifzadeh argued that Iran's revolutionary courts are illegal. He noted that not a single one of the defendants in 6,000 political and media-related cases examined by 21 lawyers since Khatami was elected president in 1997 received a fair trial in accordance with Iran's Constitution.

He added that none of his 180-200 fellow prisoners in Ward 350 of Tehran's Evin prison received a fair trial either. He said their sentences were not commensurate with the actions for which they were tried.

With one exception, the same holds true for prisoners in Evin's Ward 209, which is run by the Intelligence Ministry, Seifzadeh continued.

Seifzadeh signed his letter as a "member of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, former judge, lawyer, and current prisoner." He said the only way out of the current situation is the "dissolution of such illegal authorities" and "structural reform of the judiciary."

"A regime with a fair judiciary and free press and [political] parties will not undergo revolution and collapse," Seifzadeh wrote.

Seifzadeh, who has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since May, was sentenced ilast year to nine years in prison and barred from practicing law for 10 years. He was charged with "acting against national security" by cofounding the Center for Human Rights Defenders with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi and three other lawyers.

Speaking with Radio Farda on August 24, Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghasi said the provisions of the criminal and civil codes have not been taken into account in political or security cases investigated by Iran's revolutionary courts.

Aghasi said that under Iranian law, journalists and political defendants are entitled to an open trial by a jury, but that provision has been ignored for the past 32 years.

Listen in Persian here