Revolutionary Court Unqualified to Review Case, Says Mohammad Seifzadeh
Prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh refuses to participate in his upcoming trial session, his wife Fatemeh Golzar told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Mr. Seifzadeh will not appear at this court session again for the same reason as before–he does not recognize the Revolutionary Court as qualified to review this case. He believes he should be tried in the Tehran Province Criminal Court, in the presence of a jury qualified to review press and political charges. As in the past, he will not participate and he has asked me as his lawyer to submit the bill he has written prior to the time the court convenes and not to participate in the proceedings,” Fatemeh Golzar told the Campaign.
In April 2011, security forces arrested Mohammad Seifzadeh, lawyer and, along with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, on the charge of “illegally exiting the country.” During his detention, he wrote a letter to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, and two critical articles about “laws governing pardons,” and the “definition of a political crime,” as well as signing several group statements in prison. Authorities accuse Seifzadeh of “collusion and assembly against national security.” His first trial session was scheduled for 10 January 2012, and he refused to appear at court. Mohammad Seifzadeh’s lawyer submitted his defense bill to the court. The court session was renewed for 11 March, and now for the third time for 9 April.
“We requested leave for him for the New Year, but, unfortunately, it was not approved. My last visit with him was on 2 April and he appeared fine,” said Golzar.
In October 2010, the prominent human rights lawyer was sentenced to nine years in prison and ten years’ ban on practicing law on charges of “acting against national security through co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center. In 2011, an appeals court reduced his sentence to two years in prison. He continues to await results of his case on charges of “illegally exiting the country,” and “writing a letter to Khatami.”