“I Didn’t See A Need to Summon Those Witnesses,” Says the Kahrizak Judge
The eighth trial session of judges implicated in the Kahrizak Detention Center case was held on Monday, May 13 at Branch 76 of Tehran Penal Court under Judge Siamak Modir Khorasani. As in the previous seven sessions, the court session was held behind closed doors. Saeed Mortazavi, the main suspect charged with “participation in murder,” Judge Ali Akbar Heydarifar, Judge Hassan Zare Dehnavi, and Judge Haddad’s lawyer, in addition to plaintiffs and their lawyers were present.
As in the other seven sessions, defendant Judge Haddad was again absent from the trial session and his lawyer represented him. The trial judge told the reporters later that there may be two more sessions for hearing the defense.
According to reports on Iranian government news agencies, Fallah, the Greater Tehran Police Command’s Deputy Inspector at the time of the incident had been summoned by the Judge. The plaintiffs and their lawyers did not answer questions about testimony provided by this witness. Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht, a lawyer representing one of the plaintiffs said that three lawyers and father of Mohsen Rooholamini and mother of Mohammad Kamrani, two of the victims, provided some explanations. According to Nikbakht, the suspects were not allowed to speak at this session.
In the fifth trial session, Abdolhossein Rooholamini, father of one of the Kahrizak victims stated that they had requested the court to summon Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Head of the General Inspection Office, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, General Prosecutor, and Dorri Najafabadi had been summoned to provide testimony. Judge Modir Khorasani, however, told the reporters that, “I didn’t see a need to summon those witnesses.”
Father of Mohammad Kamrani, a Kahrizak victim, told ISNA that the court had invited several Kahrizak detainees as witnesses and that they had provided their testimony. “I don’t know about the witnesses’ appearance at court…their appearance was unexpected,” Kamrani told ISNA.
According to reports, Head of Tehran Prisons Organization Sohrab Soleimani, and four Kahrizak detainees provided testimony behind the closed doors.
Following the disputed 2009 presidential election, dozens of protesters were arrested by security forces and were transferred to a horrific detention center in Tehran named Kahrizak. According to testimony provided by former detainees, they were subjected to psychological, physical, and sexual abuse inside Kahrizak.
Despite a lack of interest on the part of the Iranian regime to pursue accounts of torture and death inside the police detention center, parents of several Kahrizak victims have pursued the case and insisted on bringing those responsible to justice.
Saeed Mortazavi has so far insisted that he is innocent of all charges and that there is no evidence tying him to the charges. He has also questioned whether the court is qualified to review the case. In his own testimony, however, Judge Ali Akbar Heydarifar told the court that he is responsible for everything and that he ordered the transfer of detainees to Kahrizak in summer of 2009.
“I and other plaintiff lawyers continue to believe that the main suspect in this case is Saeed Mortazavi. While he was aware of he physical capacity of the Kahrizak Detention Center and its conditions, he agreed to the transfer of 145 detainees to Kahrizak on July 9, 2009,” Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht told the reporters. “He did not do anything to prevent the transfer of the detainees to this death chamber, nor to oversee the detention center, and he additionally delayed returning the detainees to Evin. The cause of death for all three Kahrizak victims, according to the 13-member Medical Examiner and Medical Sciences University was repeated blows to their bodies, wounds, infection of the wounds, and lack of treatment for the wounds,” he added.