Post-Election Prisoner Tells Campaign: “My Entire Trial Took Only Three Minutes”
A political prisoner, released and tried in the past few months, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that even though he served four months in prison, was interrogated for over 300 hours, and has a case file containing some 400 pages of documents, his entire trial lasted only three minutes.
The political activist told the Campaign: “Before my trial session I was told if I wish to hire a lawyer or if a lawyer appears at my trial, 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 said if a lawyer shows up, my sentence would be in excess of three years in prison.”
He said: “The judge in charge of my case knew nothing about it and after reading the charges against me asked: ‘Do you have any objections?’ I said I don’t accept my charges. He replied, ‘It doesn’t matter whether you accept the charges or not.’ He then told the fellow who accompanied me that my presence was not necessary and I left the judge’s office. I asked the officer who was escorting me whether that was my trial. 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 my thick file, the judge could review all the details and charges against me without my having had a chance to defend myself.”
The 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 a week to answer questions. He has shown up to these appointments six times so far. He said in four of them, he left after several hours’ of waiting without seeing his interrogator. Over the last few months, he was 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 and 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 concern about the review process of post-election 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.