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Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Iran's Response to the Internet

The Judge agreed. Based on the consensus reached among the advisors, they allowed only one of the attorneys or the client to speak. They left us no choice, so we thought it best if Mojtaba addressed the court. Mojtaba provided a detailed account to the court involving his receiving an important award for successful understanding and analysis of the Nahj’ul balaghih. He then revealed the unlawful and illegitimate actions of the investigator, judge Moqaddas and the interrogators. The court took notice. A motion was quickly drafted, the statements of the Prosecutor’s representative were addressed, and we requested our client’s acquittal in accordance with to the [rule of] law. The court adjourned, and after a few days issued its judgment acquitting our client of the charge of “insulting the prophet.” After the proceedings ended and before the judgment was issued, one of the court advisors summoned me. He said I was one of the learned judges and notable lawyers in this country – how could I allow such things to be discussed in court? He said I could have simply brought my client to court, asked him to repent and the whole thing would have been resolved. [I responded] that my responsibility is the defense of my client’s rights, and that I would not cooperate with law-breaking officers and judges. He said things would have been simpler for us [had we chosen a different path]. I told him to put his conscience on trial, and judge based on God, the rule of law and justice. Then I left the court. According to Judgment No. 9, dated July 3, 2005, in case file 83.6, the judgment acquitting the defendant was issued based on the defense provided by his lawyers, Mojtaba Saminejad [’s own testimony] and the rule of law. The court was of the opinion that Mojtaba Saminejad must be released because he was acquitted of the charge of “insulting the prophet,” the apostasy charge was dismissed, and he was acquitted of the charge of attempts against the national security. In order to release him immediately, his acquittal order was sent to the Ershad Prosecution Office. This angered the investigator and judge Moqaddas, partly because Saminejad had spoken of his torture while in court. [They decided that] he had to be punished further, so he was not actually released. To this day our efforts [to secure his freedom] have been unsuccessful.
2- Insulting the Supreme Leader and attempts against the national security: The second case file that was fabricated for Saminejad and sent to Branch 13 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court was the one involving insulting the Supreme Leader and actions against the national security. An indictment to this effect was issued against Mojtaba Saminejad by judge Moqaddas and sent to the aforementioned office. It was registered in that branch under Docket No. d/ta/83/7515. The proceedings were scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 22, 2005. Because of my belief that, pursuant to articles 159 and 172, the Revolutionary Courts were illegal from the time of the Constitution’s ratification in 1979, my respectable colleague Mr. Shami took on the responsibility of defending the client in the aforementioned branch. As before, they brought the client in with handcuffs and chains. A few of his interrogators were also present in court (so as to prevent a legitimate defense by the attorney and client). My respectable colleague objected, but his concerns were not addressed.
Finally, according to judgment No. 70, dated May 22, 2005, the client was sentenced to the maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for the charge of insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This was done without the slightest reliance on legitimate evidence, and pursuant to Article 514 of the Islamic Penal Code. He was acquitted of the charge of attempting to disrupt the national security. Following an appeal of the issued judgment, the case was tried in Branch 36 of the Appeals Court of Tehran Province (which is located in the Revolutionary Court building). The Docket No. was 84.418. In accordance with judgment no. 573, the verdict of Branch 13 of the Public Court of Tehran was affirmed without any reference to the [alleged] insulting words [used by my client]. This was done in contravention of the law of inquiry regarding insulting words or defamation. (According to criminal law, insulting and offensive words are defined in reference to terminology that is clear or apparent, or the commission of acts which, in light of social customs and time, place and personal restrictions, lead to the silencing or defaming of others. If such words do not exist, there can be no [charge] of insult.) As a result, the [lower court’s] ruling was affirmed and the client was sentenced to two years’ definite term. It is believed that the court affirmed the maximum allowable term of imprisonment in part because one of the officials from the Prosecutor’s Office referred to the interviews I had conducted in connection to Saminejad’s [case], and requested that my client be dealt with severely.
3- The charges related to engaging in an illicit affair, promoting corruption and prostitution, and causing confusion amongst the masses were related to articles 673, 639 and 698 of the Islamic Penal Code. The indictment against my client was prepared by judge Moqaddas and sent for processing to Branch 1084 of the Public Criminal Court of Tehran, located in the Ershad Complex (where judge Moqaddas is stationed). The first and second charges were based on family photos taken from the defendant’s house. The female members of the client’s family were summoned to court in an attempt to extract forced confessions from them against Mojtaba. The actions of judge Moqaddas and Branch 2 of Investigations violated Shari’a law and morality, and clearly breached articles 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 11 of the Citizen Rights Law. It is noteworthy that the court refused to pay any attention to the illegal activities of the Prosecutor’s Office, and in a speedy trial (which at first it intended to convene without the presence of the client) Saminejad was fined for the first crime, acquitted of the second crime and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for the third. Notwithstanding his acquittal on the charges of apostasy, insulting the prophet, attempts against the national security and promoting prostitution, and despite the rule of law, this court was unwilling to reduce the amount of bail and order the release of my client. Instead, [it opted to] continue applying pressure on him.

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Tagged as:

Free Speech, Right to Protest, Cyber Journalism, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Free Association, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination