“Mortazavi Must Apologize To Me,” Says Persecuted Human Rights Lawyer
As judicial and security pressures on lawyers from Defenders of Human Rights Center continue, lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah has been summoned to the Revolutionary Court’s Branch 15, immediately after Mohammad Ali Seifzadeh’s trial, another lawyer at the Center. Dadkhah told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he must appear at the court on 17 October 2010 in order to respond to charges brought against him.
Dadkhah, who represents some 20 university students, faculty members, and post-election detainees, was arrested in his office one day after the 12 June presidential election on charges of firearms and drug possession in his office. He was eventually released on bail. Dadkhah represents student activists such as Abdollah Momeni, Majid Tavakoli, Hossein Ronaghi Kermani, Ali Malihi, and Bahareh Hedayat.
“I only hope that I will be judged fairly. I did not accept any of my charges, because I did not take any actions against my country’s security. I did not have misguided books, nor firearms; no Colt handgun, and not ‘so many bullets,’ which according to Mr. Mortazavi’s colleagues, ‘they were unable to count them.’ Pro-government newspapers wrote that I had a large quantity of military grade bullets and drugs. I am a human rights activist. I talk through paper, pen and words; why would I need guns? I am against war and a peace seeker. My background shows this, too. I have asked the court repeatedly to turn over the items claimed to be mine to scientific centers in order to determine whether my fingerprints are on them or not. So far, none of the officials in charge of the investigation and review of my case have paid any attention to my request,” said Dadkhah about the process of his trial .
“The forces said that they videotaped the entire process of my arrest. I hope they would show the films in court, so that I and others can see the drugs, firearms, and the bullets which were discovered from me. My only hope is that my case is judged with justice. When it is, I must be exonerated and Mortazavi himself must apologize to me,” said Dadkhah, pointing out that such treatment is in direct contradiction with human dignity.
“The forces caused a lot of damage to my office. They opened my safe at night and removed its entire contents which included private documents belonging to people who had trusted me, leaving them with me for safekeeping as their lawyer, documents such as checks and other private papers. They have not returned some of them yet,” Dadkhah added.
I am not allowed to read my clients’ case files
Dadkhah currently represents some 20 cases related to post-election events. He says he has only been able to see a few of his clients in person to discuss their cases with them. “Some of them were released on bail, but others are in prison and, unfortunately, prison officials would not allow me to visit them. This in itself is a clear violation of a prisoner’s rights and must be reconsidered. My clients are reputable individuals of integrity who have acted upon their love for this land, and if the election results were different, they would have been in a much better position now. None of them had ill thoughts about this country, therefore they must benefit from the basic and clear rights of prisoners. These rights may never be altered in any time, location, or circumstances, as they are a part of every individual’s human and citizen rights,” he told the Campaign.
“I have only met one or two of my clients in prison, the rest of them, unfortunately, I was only able to see at their trials in court. Unfortunately, when I go to request visits with my clients, they tell me that this prisoner does not have permission to visit with his lawyer ‘due to special rules.’ According to the law, when a lawyer goes to visit his client, the prisoner should be permitted this right,” continued Dadkhah.
Asked what documents he uses for defending his clients, and whether he is informed about the investigations, Dadkhah said, “We are never informed about the interrogations and initial investigations before the case is forwarded to court. If there is time in court, we can read the case files. Cases contain more than one thousand pages and it is impossible to read them in a short period of time. Obviously, my clients’ rights are violated in this process.”
None of my clients’ charges are justified
Mohammad Dadkhah spoke about his reflections on the young clients he has been representing over the past year. “I believe most of them have received charges which are not justified. As an observer and someone who has been present during the case process, I believe in these cases, justice was the first victim. Justice was not observed in defining these charges,” he said.
“I feel very bad about the case of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. I believe he is an Iranian scientist who could help his country. Now in the best years of his youth, he is sentenced to 15 years in prison. While many Iranian students are studying in Europe and US, he was able to grow in one of the remotest villages of Iran. Why should he be sentenced to 15 years in prison? Justice and chivalry dictate differently. If we are interested in our country’s bright future, we must let our country’s resources grow,” Dadkhah said.
“I saw Hossein twice in court and once in his prison cell. He was not allowed to leave his cell. The last time I saw him, he was not in a bad physical condition, but psychologically, when someone has spent almost a year in solitary confinement, it is clear what would happen,” he said about Maleki’s condition.