Judge Said Issuance of Death Sentence Forced Under Pressure From Higher Authorities
Jafar Kazemi’s death sentence has been upheld. His wife, Roudabeh Akbari, has written an open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations advising him that force is being used on her husband in an attempt to pressure him into making confessions–and that Kazemi’s punishment is disproportionate to his charges. The letter, which has been shared with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, also states that authorities are refusing to allow his family to visit him in prison.
Akbari, who is a homemaker and has two children, writes: “My husband was arrested at 6:00 a.m. on 18 September 2009 on Haft Howz Avenue in Tehran, and I didn’t have any news about him for two weeks. He was under torture for three days, and spent 74 days in solitary confinement under deplorable conditions. My husband’s charge was, ‘support and propagation for the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization [MKO],’ and meeting with our son in Ashraf [Camp in Iraq]. During three days of torture and three months in solitary confinement, he was put under pressure for a televised interview. And when he resisted, he was tortured and severely beaten, leading to three broken teeth. Currently my husband is imprisoned under alarming psychological and physical conditions.”
Referring to the sentence and statements by Judge Moghiseh about the ruling, Jafar Kazemi’s wife wrote: “After Judge Moghiseh issued the death sentence in the lower court, my husband’s lawyer objected verbally to this heavy and illegal sentence. The charge against my husband was merely ‘propagation against the regime.’ The case judge then said, ‘I was forced to issue this sentence under pressure from higher authorities.’ According to my husband’s lawyer, the three-page appeal statement prepared in his defense concentrating on the [charge of] ‘propagation against the regime’ was not addressed at all during the [second] trial. The appeals court upheld the lower court’s death sentence decision in two short lines. The appeals court judge was Judge Zargar.”
She added, “The interrogator told my husband that, ‘We need some victims in order to safeguard the regime, and you are one of the people who has been chosen for this.’ They asked my husband again to agree to an interview pertaining to Ashura Day [protests]. He resisted this because he was arrested three months prior to Ashura Day [which was on December 27, 2009]. The interrogators threatened that if he did not agree to an interview, his wife and his children would be tortured before his eyes. Even though the interrogators threatened that they would cut his wife into pieces in his presence, he resisted doing any type of interviews. They then informed my husband that his execution is final and will be carried out. After 74 days in solitary confinement at Ward 209, he was first moved to a location called ‘The Suite,’ and after that to Ward 350.”
Akbari stated that she and her young children have not been allowed any visits with Kazemi during the past three weeks despite their repeated trips to the prison. “Under which law and norm, and in which country is visiting one’s child a crime? If visiting with one’s child is considered a crime punishable by death in the Islamic Republic, then yes, my husband is guilty. Considering the dire conditions of political prisoners, and the lack of review of illegal sentences–which are against human rights and the innocence of all political prisoners, I request immediate and practical consideration of overturning the orders to execute him. Thank you, Roudbeh Akbari, Wife of political prisoner Jafar Kazemi, May 2010.”