Despite Shaky Evidence, Hamid Ghassemi Awaits Execution
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, sister of Hamid Ghassemi,a prisoner whose death sentence has been sent to the Judiciary’s Sentence Enforcement Unit, reported about her brother’s poor psychological state in prison. “Unfortunately, Hamid is really messed up psychologically. Any moment his sentence may be carried out and we have not been able to do anything effective for him. Hamid says that each time he hears the PA system in the ward, he thinks they are calling his name to go in for his execution. He is really stressed out and worried about his state of limbo. He keeps asking, ‘When will they hang me?'” said Parvin Ghassemi.
The death sentence of Hamid Ghassemi, who is accused of transferring army information to foreign states, was sent to the Sentence Enforcement Unit on 13 April. According to his family, his execution may be carried out at any moment. “No matter how hard we tried to meet with the Tehran Prosecutor or other judicial authorities during this time, it was futile. Our only reprieve is that with the media coverage of his execution sentence, everything has quieted down. But we can’t trust this silence, either,” Hamid Ghassemi’s sister told the Campaign.
Parvin Ghassemi told the Campaign that none of her brother’s charges are true, and that they are all products of his interrogator’s minds. “I would like to ask my country’s judicial authorities to review Hamid’s case one more time in a fair court. If they have any evidence against Hamid, to present it and then carry out his death sentence. By evidence I don’t mean what his interrogators have presented, basing the whole case on it. This evidence is a document that even certified specialists from the Judiciary refuse to validate,” she told the Campaign.
Hamid Ghassemi-Shall an Iranian and Canadian citizen, traveled to Iran to visit with his family on 8 May 2008. Security forces arrested his older brother, Alborz Ghassemi on He was arrested on 13 May 2008. Alborz Ghassemi was a training commander in the Iranian Army’s Naval Force. He had worked in the Army’s Naval Force for 29 years and, according to his family members, he was forced to retire under pressure from the Army’s Intelligence Unit. After his arrest, his brother Hamid Ghassemi visited the Army Intelligence Unit several times to inquire about his brother’s situation. On 14 June 2008, following one of his visits, Hamid Ghassemi was also arrested and transferred to prison.
Captain Alborz Ghassemi was sentenced to death on charges of “passing information to the Mujahedin-e Khalgh Organization.” A year later, on 19 May 2009, he became sick and died in prison. Hamid Ghassemi, 44, was also charged with “passing information to the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization,” and in February 2009, he was found guilty of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), and sentenced to death. During an in-person visit with his family on 14 April this year, he was served with papers that confirmed his death sentence has been forwarded to the Enforcement Unit.
Hamid Ghassemi’s sister told the Campaign that the only evidence presented to the court for his “passing information to the Mojahedin-e-Khalgh Organization” was a piece of A4 paper based upon which the death sentence was issued. “The only evidence and document presented at court for Hamid’s espionage was a sheet of paper on which the following line was printed: ‘Hello Dear Alborz. Please send the information for me.’ They court said that according to this paper, Hamid is accused of asking Alborz for information pertaining confidential Army information, which he then passed to foreigners. We requested expert evaluation of the document during the trial, but the court did not allow it. We then sought the opinions of two certified Judiciary experts ourselves, and both of them stated that because of certain signs, this document is not reliable and that this could never have been an email exchange between the two brothers. But they didn’t even accept their own experts’ opinion,” she said.
Ghassemi told the Campaign that her brother has rejected his charges during his entire interrogation and trial stages. “Hamid was under interrogation for six months. He spent 18 months in solitary confinement, but during none of these stages, not even once, did he say that he had taken information or passed it along to foreigners. He refuted these espionage charges in court, too. But in the trial session, even the Judge did not dare speak. The court was entirely under the influence of the case interrogators. The same interrogators who had accused him of espionage based on an A4 sheet of paper, demanding his execution.”
Parvin Ghassemi emphasized that neither one of her brothers were members of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization. “I vehemently deny their membership. Hamid was in no way a member of the M.E.K. and he has not be affiliated with any political groups and has never had any political activities. I ask all those who can help me to do something to stop his execution sentence. There is no reliable document about his charges in his case,” she concluded.