Blogger Refuses to Defend Himself in Court in Protest of Unjust Proceedings
At his court session held at the Revolutionary Court on Saturday, 14 May, blogger Payman Roshan Zamir did not present a defense for himself in protest to the unjust proceedings of the judicial review. “According to requirements expressed in the law for a political suspect’s trial court, there should have been an open court, a jury, and a Representative from the Prosecutor; none of these were present. What is happening inside the Judiciary is that all laws are interpreted against the legislator’s intentions and against the suspect. I was entitled to an open court, whereas even my father was not allowed to attend, and when the lawyer brought him into the court after a lot of hardship, the Judge did not let him be present,” Roshan Zamir told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about his court proceedings.
“Other than writing a few articles, typing them, and giving one or two interviews, I have not done anything else and all of this is visible in my blogs. I wrote articles such as “Legal Ways For Changing The Leader” for Radio Zamaneh, or “We are Sohrab and Neda, not the Mujahedin-e Khalgh Organization,” but when my lawyer asked the Judge during my court proceedings to present the evidence, 90% of the evidence used by the Judge were articles I had not written at all, and had not even heard about during my interrogations. The most interesting point was when, suddenly, at the end of my court session, my interrogator entered the courtroom and showed a cartoon, saying that it was printed off of Payman’s laptop computer–a 100% false statement. He has had my laptop for the past five months. How come this cartoon was never discussed or shown to me during my interrogations, in prison, or at the court before?” said Roshan Zamir.
“When the Constitution states that the court has to be open, it is for this purpose, so that false things are not entered into the suspect’s case without shame or reservation, and so that what comes up during the case’s course is based on minimum logic. But when the court is closed, because they feel relaxed that no one can hear the suspect’s defense, they make any false accusation against him. If they are angry with one of my articles or analysis, when they know that my article does not contain any insults of illegal material, it is very unethical of them to accuse me of ridiculous things about which I know nothing and which I have never published on any websites, so that they can convict me,” continued Roshan Zamir.
“My court session was not only closed and without a jury, it even lacked a representative from the Prosecutor’s Office. [By Prosecutor’s Representative], I mean the person who should read the indictment against me, and the judge played the role of the Prosecutor, too. According to the law, if there is no representative from the Prosecutor’s Office, the court lacks validity. There was no jury and not even a representative from the Prosecutor.”
“Because of my objections to the court, I did not present any defense. I only said that I do not accept the charges. My lawyer defended me a little. I had two charges. One of them was ‘insulting the Supreme Leader,’ and I said that I have not insulted the Leader in any of my articles, and the other was ‘propagating against the regime,’ and I didn’t accept that one, either,” added Roshan Zamir.
“Our political suspects have attended so many closed court sessions, they are now used to it. But this is a very abnormal thing. The suspect should worry about his reputation. When someone files a complaint against another, it means that [they believe] he is guilty and the plaintiff has evidence against him, so he should not worry. But why do they close the court doors? This action is the best evidence for finding the court at fault. Anything could happen behind closed doors.”
Payman Roshan Zamir, who blogs on “Oos Peyman,” and is Editor-in-Chief of “Talar-e Haft-e Tir,” is currently out of prison on bail. He was arrested at his home on 20 January and was released on 29 February after being detained inside the Intelligence Office and Karoon Prison. His charges are “propagating against the regime,” and “insulting the leader”–neither of which the political activist accepts. Roshan Zamir currently awaits the results of his lower court ruling.