Ali Malihi’s Four-Year Sentence Upheld; Lawyer Says Court Lacked Jurisdiction
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, lawyer for imprisoned journalist Ali Malihi, spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about his client’s upheld four-year prison sentence. “Ali Malihi is a reporter, and Article 168 of the Iranian Constitution stipulates that Press Court trials should be open and public with a jury. So, in my opinion, the court did not meet these requirements and therefore had no jurisdiction to try this case. Moreover, he is a reporter and despite the Prosecutor’s claim that he was not supposed to be present in some places, my client had the legal right and authority to be there. This is just like telling a police officer that he should not be present at a crime scene. Or, telling a doctor not to be in a hospital. A reporter is the eyes and ears of the society. People expect to hear and receive the truth from him, and expect him to be an honest reporter and a trustworthy narrator who reports the events,” said Dadkhah.
Ali Malihi’s appeals court ruling upheld the sentence from the lower court, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Courts. The presiding judge in this case was Judge Moghiseh, who has tried many social and political activists who were arrested after the election last year. Malihi was convicted of the charge of “acting against national security through participation in the post-election protests.” He has been in prison since 9 February 2010.
“They said he was in a series of gatherings. Whether he was or wasn’t is another matter, but even if he was, considering that he has an official press card, the charge does not apply to him,” said Dadkhah about Malihi’s presence at the gatherings. In regards to the future course of action, he told the Campaign, “Considering that the sentence is final, in terms of routine procedures, not much can be done to change the situation. Unless, noting that he has had no prior criminal record, as well as the fact that he has been in prison for nearly 11 months, he may be able to receive a conditional prison leave; we will act upon this.” Dadkhah stressed that so far, other than meeting Malihi during the court sessions, he has not been allowed to meet him in prison.
He urged officials to release all political prisoners.