“The verdict will be announced in 7 days. No espionage evidence in indictment,” says lawyer to Americans
Massoud Shafiee, lawyer to the three Americans on trial in Tehran today, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were present in court today and submitted their defense on the two charges of “illegal entry,” and “espionage;” the lawyer presented his defense for his clients; and the judge said that the court ruling will be announced in a week.
Asked about the best and worst case scenarios regarding the trial outcome, Massoud Shafiee said that according to Iranian laws, “‘espionage’ could have a sentence of one to ten years in prison and ‘illegal entry’ could have a punishment of one to three years in prison. If treated illogically, a total of maximum sentences of ten and three years, but such a thing will not happen. My guess is that if the Judge wants to treat it harshly, he will sentence them to a little more than two years, considering the fact that there is no reason for espionage or even illegal entry. God willing, they will be released. I believe they should be acquitted, but considering the two men have been in detention for two years, an acquittal would not make sense and more likely, there will be a conviction.”
“I had sufficient time for presenting my defense and Shane and Josh wrote a comprehensive and complete last defense. Mr. Salavati then announced the trial adjournment and announced that he would issue their ruling in seven days,” Massoud Shafiee told the Campaign about the trial session.
Massoud Shafiee, who represents the three Americans Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer, told the Campaign that Josh and Shane’s psychological state appeared good and that they were smiling in court. “We talked; they were comfortable and relaxed and smiling. I wanted to see them before court, but it was not possible. But we spent four hours in court. The court was in closed session, and there was no one there from the [Swiss] Embassy,” he added.
The lawyer told the Campaign that in none of the trial sessions were any evidence pertaining to his clients’ “espionage” charges presented, and that the statements in the indictment are only claims by the Prosecutor. “The indictment reflected both espionage and the illegal entry charges…I didn’t accept the two charges waged against my clients. The representative from the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t have much to say, either. In fact they had no evidence,” the lawyer said. He also denied rumors that his clients may have confessed to certain cases raised by the representative from the Prosecutor’s Office.
In his submitted defense, Massoud Shafiee told the court that the “illegal entry” charge does not apply to his clients, as last year the Iranian Parliament questioned Iran’s Foreign Minister about the absence of signs and markings on the Iran-Iraq border region which would clearly marking the borders.
Article 212 of the Criminal Trial Procedures emphasizes that when the court announces the end of the judicial review, it is authorized to announce its ruling immediately. If the court deems it appropriate, it must announce its verdict in no more than one week. According to Massoud Shafiee, the Judge told him that he and his clients will be informed of the ruling in one week.
The indictment was not read at Sunday’s meeting, as it had not changed since the last time. Speaking of “the best case scenario” for his clients, Shafiee said: “The best case would be for the Judge to sentence them for two years, equal to the time of their detention. In this case he can save face for the judicial process, and to release them immediately. Otherwise, if he rules for a higher sentence, I would appeal it and an appeals court might overturn his decision.”
Massoud Shafiee told the Campaign that despite his repeated written requests for meeting with his clients, he has never been allowed to meet with his clients in private, and he was unable to have private conversations with them during the four hours they spent in court.
The press were not allowed to attend the Sunday court session; only Press TV was allowed to be present at the prior trial session.