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Justice Denied: The Saga of Iran's Political Prisoners

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

Moving Account of Saeed Leilaz's Condition

The issuance of harsh verdicts for political prisoners and journalists continues. In the latest instance, journalist and economic analyst Saeed Leilaz was sentenced to nine years imprisonment. Rooz discussed these harsh verdicts in interviews with families of several political prisoners and journalists, including Saeed Leilaz and Abdollah Momeni's wives.

Saeed Leilaz (center) during a court appearance

Ahmad Zeidabadi's Bail Amount Increasing Week by Week

Ahmad Zeidabadi continues to remain in prison even though his 500 thousand dollar bail amount was posted last week. The judge in the case had first issued a 150 thousand dollar bail, which he increased to 250 thousand dollars within three days. On November 8, the day of Mr. Zeidabadi's trial, the judge increased the sum to 350 thousand dollars, which was posted by the family of this prisoner. After a week, however, in a telephone call to his wife, Mahdiyeh Mohammadi, Mr. Zeidabadi said that the bail amount had been increased to 500 thousand dollars. That amount too was posted by Zeidabadi's family last Wednesday, but this journalist has not been released yet.

Ahmad Zeidabadi in court

Momeni Denies Confession

While the website "Parcham," which supports Ahmadinejad, claimed that "Abdollah Momeni's shocking confessions will be broadcasted ahead of 16 Azar, the Student Day," Momeni's wife firmly denied the report on behalf of her husband.

Abdollah Momeni

Mr. Momeni's wife, Fatemeh Adinevand, told Rooz, "Yesterday Mr. Momeni called us and I told him that some websites have published rumors about confessions and read him the report. He became very angry and said that the reports were absolutely false and asked me to deny them."

She added, "None of the previous confessions were Abdollah's statements either. Everyone who has been released says that Abdollah was subjected to the most severe and inhumane tortures."

Nine Years Imprisonment for Saeed Leilaz

Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Saeed Leilaz to 9 years imprisonment. The verdict, which will be sent to the appellate court for review, is the harshest verdict issued for a journalist since the coming to power of Ahmadinejad.

Alizadeh Tabatabaei, Mr. Leilaz's attorney, tells Rooz, "The issued verdict has not been forwarded to us yet, but the judge in the case announced to me that my client has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for engaging in propaganda against the regime, possession of confidential documents and conspiracy with foreigners.

Speaking to Rooz, Mr. Leilaz's wife blasted the issued verdict for this journalist. She said about the trial: "Unfortunately from the very beginning they forced one of Mr. Leilaz's attorneys to step down, and Mr. Alizadeh Tabatabaei has been able to meet Mr. Leilaz only once before trial, for twenty minutes, and the meeting took place in the interrogator's presence. Also, they did not provide Mr. Leilaz with a pen and paper to write his defense brief, and when we mentioned this during my meeting with the prosecutor he couldn't believe that Mr. Leilaz didn't have a pen and paper."

Mr. Leilaz's wife added, "Then, after they gave Mr. Leilaz a pen and paper and he wrote his defense brief, prison official confiscated his brief and told him they will give it back on trial day in court, but they never gave it back to him. In effect, Mr. Leilaz was let without a defense brief and had to defend himself orally."

According to her, the judge gave Leilaz only ten minutes to defend himself in court. This journalist's wife adds, "In trial they were extremely abusive in order to humiliate Mr. Leilaz. The trial was very short and when it ended, after Mr. Leilaz exited the courtroom he told me that he wasn't given time to defend himself against six heavy charges."

Dr. Maleki's Latest Condition

Amar Maleki, the son of Dr. Mohammad Maleki, who has been under arrest for the past 103 days, tells Rooz regarding the latest condition of his father: "Recently he was in the hospital for a week, last week he was returned to prison and now he shares a room with some other political prisoners at Ward 209 of the Evin Prison."

Dr. Mohammad Maleki

He added, "Although his access there to general and health resources is better than solitary confinement, the general prison condition is not appropriate with someone in his health condition and in his age. That is why his family and attorney are constantly seeking to get him released on bail so that he can seek treatment for his health conditions outside prison."

One-Year Prison Term for Shapour Kazemi

The attorney for Zahra Rahnavard's (Mir-Hossein Mousavi's wife) brother, Shapour Kazemi, announced the initial trial for his client.

Mr. Alizadeh Tabatabaei, Shapour Kazemi's attorney, told ILNA: "The trial court has issued a one year prison term for Kazemi."

Shapour Kazemi

According to him, Shapour Kazemi is charged with participation in illegal protests, among other charges.

Alizadeh Tabatabaei, who also represents Kambiz Nourozi, said about him: "We presented our appeal request to the court as today was the deadline to appeal my client's initial verdict."

Kambiz Norouzi is the secretary of the legal affairs of the Association of Iranian Journalists, who was sentenced by branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court to two years imprisonment and 74 lashes.

... Payvand News - 12/08/09 ... --

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