Judiciary Must Review the Sentencing of Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghasaban
(20 April, 2008) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is appealing to the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, to review the sentencing by an appeals court of three students, Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghasaban to prison terms. The students’ lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has appealed to the Judiciary to review the sentencing in light of complete lack of evidence in issuing the sentence. The Campaign deeply regrets the decision, not only because three clearly innocent young people have been unfairly condemned after torture and ill-treatment, but because it demonstrates the vulnerability of the Iranian people to the whims and prejudices of a system lacking accountability, transparency, and fairness.
“This miscarriage of justice case is a disgrace to Iran because the appeal process violated Iranian law and international standards. The case needs to be reviewed at the highest level by a committee of independent judges,” the Campaign stated.On 15 April 2008, an appeals court sentenced the three students from Teheran’s elite Amir Kabir University to prison terms of about two years each on charges of having spread anti-Islamic images and propaganda against the state. The charges against the students were initially dropped by the lower court in the absence of the presentation of sufficient factual evidence supporting the charges by the prosecutors.
Confessions, which had been extracted under severe torture, were subsequently retracted by the three young men. The appeals court decision was not based on the presentation of any evidence. The lawyer for the students stated, “These students were sentenced without any reason.”
The case has been a matter of serious concern for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which included the accused students among the Prisoners of Conscience it has tried to support (www.iranhumanrights.org/en/themes/profiles/). The sentence deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms by all governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society groups that uphold international human rights standards and standards for fair and responsible trials.
“Indeed, what transpired was not a legitimate trial at all, but rather an officially sanctioned attempt to destroy the reputations and future of three promising young people by crudely manipulating the courts. The judicial system itself is a victim in this case. It has been ruthlessly exploited to accommodate blatantly political and subjective motives; rules of procedure, facts, evidence, logic, and the law itself have been ignored,” the Campaign stated.