“No Legal Reasoning for the Verdict”, says Journalist’s Attorney
Branch 26 of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts has sentenced journalist Badrolssadat Mofidi to six years in prison and five years’ deprivation of press activities. Mofidi is Secretary General of the Iranian Journalists Association. Mohammad Sharif, Mofidi’s lawyer, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the sentence was extremely unexpected, as he had anticipated his client’s acquittal. Sharif told the Campaign that the trial session resembled an interrogation session. “I read the sentence in disbelief. I didn’t even know how to inform my client of the news,” he said.
Sharif lawyer is currently preparing his appeal request for the Sharif’s sentence. “‘Assembly and collusion for committing a crime,’ and ‘propagating against the regime’ were Ms. Mofidi’s charges. Considering the nature of this case, the charge of ‘assembly and collusion for committing a crime’ lacks the minimum legal foundation. She was the Secretary General of the Iranian Journalists Association which was licensed to operate. All meetings such organizations conduct, or any decisions made inside such organizations, are legal and they cannot be considered as secret gatherings or decisions, or collusion. There were no other instances of ‘assembly and collusion for committing a crime’ in her file, and considering the lengthy court session which appeared more like an interrogation session than a trial, I expected Ms. Mofidi to be acquitted from this charge,” Sharif said.
“Mrs. Mofidi’s husband, Massoud Aghaee, was arrested along with her on Ashura Day [December 27, 2009] and had similar charges. His charges were reviewed in the same branch (Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts). He was acquitted of the charge of ‘assembly and collusion’ and was sentenced to six months in prison for ‘propagating against the regime.’ Considering this background and the fact that the Iranian Journalists Association is a registered entity, I expressed optimism about Mrs. Mofidi’s verdict. Now I feel that as her lawyer, I was not effective in the way this case was tried. If this trend continues, legal representation of clients will be jeopardized,” Sharif added.
“I will definitely object to this sentence and ask for an appeal, but I cannot be too hopeful about the appeals court’s ruling. In order to show my efforts, I will publish the legal impediments to the rulings once the verdict is finalized. There is no material evidence or legal reasoning to justify the charge of ‘assembly and collusion for committing a crime against national security,'” concluded Sharif.
After being held in prison for six months, Badrolsaddat Mofidi was temporarily released from prison in June 2010. Her closed trial was held last Tuesday, 3 August 2010 with Judge Ahmadzadeh presiding.