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Lawyer of Iran`s former ambassador to Argentina says not provided with details of case

Lawyer of Hadi Soleimanpour, Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, said in London on Thursday that the British authorities have failed to provide his team of lawyers with the details of the case, stressing that this treatment had been irrational, IRNA reported.

Ben Brandon told IRNA that he had contacted the Home Office, the British Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) several times over the past month to obtain further information on the case, but regretted that they had so far rejected his request.

He also said that Buenos Aires has so far failed to produce adequate evidence at court in its extradition claim against the Iranian ex-diplomat.

"What we have seen from Judge Galeano regarding Soleimanpour`s case lacked any evidence against the defendant not only from our viewpoint as lawyers but also from that of the [British] judge presiding over the case," the lawyer said.

Brandon added that he expected the representatives of the British Crown Prosecutor Service (CPS) to announce in Friday`s hearing that no adequate evidence had been produced by Argentina regarding Soleimanpour`s case and that they would therefore withdraw the plaint against him.

The available evidences show that the Argentinean Judiciary has failed to make the preliminary preparations to push ahead Soleimanpour`s extradition request, he said.

Soleimanpour was arrested on a provisional Argentine extradition warrant on August 21 at his home in Durham, north east England, where he has been studying a PhD for the past two years.

Argentine Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who is leading the investigations into the bombing, has issued the arrest warrant against Soleimanpour, as well as several other Iranians, for their alleged involvement in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left 85 killed and 200 injured.

Iran has strongly rejected the charges, stressing that Argentina is playing politics over the issue under the pressure of the Zionists. Soleimanpour was released on bail last Friday but will have to appear at the court today for the extradition proceedings.

Brandon further said he was surprised to hear that a 600-page report had recently been submitted to the court by Argentina against Soleimanpour, adding that he had not been provided with a copy or any details of the report.

He said the report would make the Friday hearing into Soleimanpour`s case `very difficult`, stressing however that the report provided no guarantee that new definite evidences had been found against the Iranian ex-envoy.

The 600-page report does not by itself show that definite evidences had been found against Soleimanpour and his team of lawyers themselves need to study it, he said.

At the latest hearing, Soleimanpor`s barrister Alun Jones said that Argentina had only presented what was technically a summary of accusations that had been available on the Internet since last March that failed to explain any involvement of his client.

In the accusations made against the former ambassador`s alleged involvement in the bombing, Jones said that only one paragraph referred to the ambassador on the basis that being in charge of the embassy at the time that his consent can in some way be assumed.

Brandon said that the measure by the Argentinean Judiciary to forward the report showed that Buenos Aires was not familiar with the judicial proceedings in Britain.

He said the British Judiciary should decide over Soleimanpour`s arrest in 30 days ending Saturday, stressing that the Friday hearing would make it clear whether the former ambassador should remain in custody for further court probes into extradition request for at least 60 days.

Judge Galeano might have failed to notice this believing that the Friday hearing would examine the whole issue of extradition. This has undoubtedly created problems for Argentinean lawyers [pursuing the case] at the [British] court, Brandon said.

If no reliable evidence is produced by Argentina against Soleimanpour to persuade the court to keep him in custody in the Friday hearing, his arrest warrant must be completely suspended. Argentina has been told to produce its full case against Soleimanpour in today`s hearing.

When the documents are received, Home Secretary David Blunkett has to sign an Authority to Proceed if a committal trial is to go ahead. Blunkett also makes the ultimate decision before any extraditions can be carried out.

Brandon described the measure by the British Police to arrest Soleimanpour on a temporary arrest warrant as completely wrong. He said there had been no extradition of nationals between Britain and Argentina over the past 30 years, stressing that Soleimanpour`s case is a new experience for both countries.

This has made both countries not to act correctly in dealing with the case and a chaotic situation has been accordingly resulted, Brandon said.

... Payvand News - 9/19/03 ... --

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