Intelligence Agents Influence Nine Year Sentence for Heshmatollah Tabarzadi
Following the sentencing of prisoner of conscience Heshmatollah Tabarzadi to nine years in prison, his son told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his father’s sentencing has taken place under the influence of intelligence and security organizations and it is illegal. According to Hossein Tabarzadi, his father has been formally served with his sentence, but his three attorneys have not yet received the ruling. He criticized the Judiciary’s lack of independence during the interview.
“He has been sentenced to a total of 9 years in prison and 74 lashes. Some of his charges are ‘insulting the Leader,’ ‘creating public anxiety,’ and ‘establishment of the Students Unity Council.’ But what undeniably exists in his case is the presence of security forces who had even constrained the judicial system. Maybe if the presiding Judge, Mr. Pirabasi wanted to have an opinion on the file, the outcome would have been different. But he received what the Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC had wanted for him, the maximum punishment,” Hossein Tabarzadi told the Campaign.
Heshamatolllah Tabarzadi was arrested by Ministry of Information forces on 28 December 2009, following post-election protests of Tasooaa and Ashura on 26 and 27 December 2009, and transferred to an unknown location. Presenting a warrant, forces also searched his home and took his personal items, computer, and his notes.
“They have not yet served the verdict to his lawyers Ms. Pourfazel and Mr. Jahangir Mahmoudi. Two days ago, he was taken to court and he was shown his verdict without his lawyers’ presence. The lawyers were supposed to follow up and for the ruling to be served to them,” said Hossein Tabarzadi.
“Male and female visitors take turns in visiting him every other week. You could call it an ‘in-person’ visit, but the prison’s terrible conditions, and the mixing of drug addicts and smugglers with political prisoners makes for an undesirable environment for what you could call ‘security visits.’ You couldn’t call it a private visit. We also have four minutes of phone conversation every day,” the prisoner of conscience’s son told the Campaign.
Hossein Tabarzadi told the Campaign that both Heshmatollah Tabarzadi and his lawyers consider the court ruling as illegal, because his trial was not legal and he did not have a jury present in his trial. They do not have any plans for appealing the verdict so far, as they had only prepared a defense bill for the lower court.
“His morale is 100% good. He is solid as usual. He has lost some weight, which is visible. He has diminished eyesight. He does not have access to minimal hygienic standards in prison. But he has said in both his letters and his defense that he is completely hopeful about the future and that he believes the future is 100% bright. … What is clear and has turned into a cliche is unfounded charges in security cases. We expect nothing of the Islamic Republic and we hold nothing beneath them. Because all of this is illegal, whatever ruling was issued was not unexpected,” said Hossein Tabarzadi about his father’s psychological state in prison.
“It would be natural for my family’s morale to be low. But over the past 15-20 years, we have become used to these difficult circumstances. I mean we have been able to wrestle with all the hardships. Of course, there is so much pressure, but we want to maintain our morale and that of our father’s,” said Hossein Tabarzadi about his family’s condition during his father’s imprisonment.
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, journalist and student-political activist was born in 1959. He holds a Civil Engineering degree from Tehran’s Polytechnic University (Amir Kabir). In the 1980’s he was a member of the nationwide Tahkim Vahdat Organization. In 1984, along with other student activists and associations, he established the Union of Student Islamic Associations and University and Higher Education Alumni.