Open Letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi Regarding Execution Sentence of Farzad Kamangar
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaieh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
cc: His Excellency Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN
31 July 2008
We are writing this open letter to express our concerns about serious violations of international and Iranian standards in the trial of Farzad Kamangar, whose death sentence of 25 February 2008 by Branch 30 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court has reportedly been upheld and confirmed by the Supreme Court.
In imparting our concerns we also appeal to you to commute the sentence and order a new investigation and trial under your supervision, both to ensure justice in this case and to protect the integrity of the Judiciary itself.
Allow us to summarize briefly:
Security agents arrested Mr. Kamangar around July 2006 in Tehran. Mr. Kamangar was held incommunicado for seven months, and even after that, contacts to his family were very limited; there have been none since the beginning of the Persian New Year, 21 March 2008. Being held incommunicado violates Principle 19 of the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988.
Mr. Kamangar has been denied access to his lawyer, before, during and after his trial, which violates Principles 17 and 18 of the Body of Principles, as well as Article 14 (3) (b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Islamic Republic of Iran ratified on 24 June 1975
While the charges against him have been changed in the course of his case, Mr. Kamangar has been denied any and all information concerning the case against him. This violates Article 9 (2) of ICCPR, as well as Principles 10 and 11 of the Body of Principles.
Evidence confirmed by multiple sources strongly suggests that Mr. Kamangar has been tortured during his detention. Your Excellency, we do not need to remind you that torture, as well as ill-treatment in detention, are egregious violations of human rights, and prohibited by Article 7 of the ICCPR.
Your Excellency, we are confident that an objective review of Mr. Kamangar’s trial will lead to the conclusion that no factual evidence whatsoever was presented in support of the charges against him. According to his attorney, there is no evidence confirming the charge against him (Mohareb, taking up arms against state) in his interrogation records, his file, in the prosecutor’s presentation in court or in the judges ‘decision.
Indeed, Mr. Kamangar was reportedly informed that he had been identified by intelligence and security officials as Mohareb prior to his trial.
It appears that the result of this trial was prepared in advance and that the trial was staged in order to give the appearance of a proper legal process leading to this result. Mr. Kamangar was not allowed the possibility to prepare a defense, and he was afforded no fair hearing before an impartial court. His trial in Branch 30 of Revolutionary Court in Tehran lasted no more than seven (7) minutes, three (3) of which were consumed by the reading of the indictment against him by the prosecutor. Neither Mr. Kamangar nor his lawyer was permitted to speak at his trial. Thus, Article 14 of the ICCPR was violated.
While no evidence was presented to justify the charges against him and his conviction, the procedure and trial regrettably suggest political motivations on the part of his accusers, and failure or unwillingness by the courts independently to assess guilt or innocence.
Your Excellency, the life of a person hangs in the balance and is dependent on your decision. Given these grave violations of international standards and those governing the judicial system of the Islamic Republic, we sincerely hope you will give positive consideration to a review of the case as we have proposed above.
We are grateful for your attention to our concerns.
Dr. Hadi Ghaemi
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran