Post-election Prisoner Tells the Campaign: “My Entire Trial Took Only Three Minutes.”

Apr 28, 20100 comments

A political prisoner who was released and tried over the past few months told International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that even though he served four months in prison and was interrogated in excess of 300 hours and his case file contained some 400 pages of documents, his entire trial court lasted only three minutes. The political activist told the Campaign: “Before my trial session they told me that if I wish to hire a lawyer or if a lawyer appears at my trial court, I would be sure to regret it. They told me to defend myself. I told them that I didn’t know how to present a legal defense. They replied that if a lawyer shows up in my case, my sentence would be in excess of three years in prison.” He said: “The judge in charge of my case knew nothing about the case and after reading my charges he asked me: ‘Do you have any objections?’ and I said that I didn’t accept my charges. He replied “It doesn’t matter whether you accept the charges or not.” He then told the fellow who was accompanying me that the suspect’s presence was not necessary and I left the judge’s office. I asked the officer who was escorting me whether that was my trial court. He said, ‘Of course it was! Not everybody gets cameras and TV sets in their trial, you know!’ I really don’t know how after all that time in prison and considering my thick file, my judge could review all the details and the charges made against me, without my having had a chance to defend myself.” The political activist also said that since his release, he is continuously contacted by his interrogators who ask him to show up at an Intelligence Ministry office once or twice per week to answer some questions. He has shown up to these appointments six times so far. He said in four of them, he left after several hours’ waiting, without seeing his interrogator. Over the last few months, he was also told that he had to leave the city on days when street protests were anticipated. He told the Campaign: “They have deprived me of comfort or security in my life. I am fearful every day that I might get arrested again. There is no ban on my travel abroad, yet they have confiscated my passport. When I asked to get it back they told me to forget about leaving the country.” In the past few months, many human rights lawyers and political prisoners have expressed concert about the review process of the post-elections arrests. Lack of access to impartial and fair trials is the most prevalent manifestation of violations of prisoners’ basic rights, an ever-increasing trend after last summer’s elections.