[HRAA] Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, a political prisoner currently in Rajaei Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj, has written to exiled Iranian lawyers and asked them to present his charges against Khamenei to the International Criminal Court. The body of this letter, which follows below, has been given to the HRANAwebsite.
Honourable defence attorneys: Batavan Gitty Poorfasel, Nasreen Sotoudeh, Mr Mohamad Oliayifard, Khabel Bahrameyan, Mohamad Ali Dadkhah, Jahangeer Mohmoodi
Warm greetings to you, honest lawyers, wise and of good conscience.
Your honors know better than I that the main problem the Iranian nation faces is the lack of a judiciary body that is powerful and independent from the government.
Because the head of this judicial system is unelected and appointed by the leader of the government, and the powers of that leader are equal to the powerof all the nation, as a matter of fact, the interpretation of the ‘absolute power of religious law’ is elevated above elected powers and the powers endowed by the nation.
The assigned head of government is not accountable to the people but to theSupreme Leader and various government factions. Moreover, there is a systematic interference in the judicary affairs and in particular in the work of judges.
Security forces, the centers of power and even the military can easily influence the judges. The judges are neither elected nor democratically assigned. They are instead assigned by the power center of the regime.
Judiciary procedures are not respected. This is especially the case when security or revolutionary courts deal with allegations against political prisoners. In these courts the sentences are determined solely by the will of various security centers.
Article 168 of the constitution states, “Allegations of political crimes should be investigated in public courts of competent jurisdiction with presence of lawyers and a jury.” This Article has never been respected.
To establish an independent, just and strong judiciary, the principles of separation of various branches of the state must be respected. The head ofthe judiciary must be elected by experienced, skilled, independent and just judges. The judges must be independent and only follow the intentions of laws and justice. It should not be possible for the government or any other institutionto influence judges, the supreme council of judges or the head of thejudiciary.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
100 years ago, the Constitutional Revolution achieved freedom and held adesire for justice. The freedom fighters at the head of that revolution knew that without an independent judiciary, one cannot obtain freedom, democracy, development, security and justice. But with an independent judiciary that seeks to implement justice, one can attain all of the nation’s legal demands.
It has been nearly 110 years since that revolution, but now we are facing a force that is in complete control of the military, security and ideological establishment.
Justice, fairness and neutrality have been the primary sacrifices at the altar of this ideological and illegal force.
Unjust and prejudiced courts pursue cases against people based on their religious and political beliefs. These courts forced me to confess without explanation. I and others like me feel no hope for the rule of law and for justice and continue to be victimized by tyranny and prejudice.
What avenue exists for victims like me to pursue justice?
If the government and the security apparatus in the country violate our rights we should be able to get justice in the courts.
But when the judicial system is under the power and influence of the same establishment of powerful security and government systems, then what avenue remains for defenseless citizens?
For 16 years I have sustained material and non-material damages at the hands of the security, military and judicial establishments.
Examples include the forced discontinuation and closure of publications, including Payame Daneshjo, Gozareshe Rooz and Hooyate-Khesh, all of which I was an editor or editor-in-chief of, and which were all illegally banned by the government between the years of 1993-1999. This caused great material and non-material damages to both myself and my colleagues.
They have taken away my basic rights and trampled all over the constitution, because freedom of speech is a basic right of every citizen.
In the past 16 years, I have been illegally detained on several occasions. Specifically, I have been in detention since December 2009 to this day and have been imprisoned in different facilities for a total of 11 years and 8 months over the past 16 years. I have spent 33 of those months in solitary confinement and under torture in intelligence detention centers. After all this time, now they have sentenced me to 9 years imprisonment and 74 lashes.
During this time, the 26th Branch of the Revolutionary Court, under the leadership of Judge Hadad Zarei Dehnavi, illegally disbanded the Islamic Association of University Students and Graduates, of which I was a leader.
They have stopped meetings and peaceful protests that are a basic and legal right of my fellow citizens and myself and instead have given me imprisonment, torture and social isolation.
They have taken away from me the right to freedom of speech, the right to form political parties and the right to take part in the political future of the country – which are all recognized by the Declaration of Human Rights. Instead, they have investigated my beliefs and brought me social isolation and jail time.
Repeatedly, illegally and while armed they have entered my house, seized my possessions, and caused fear and insecurity among my family members.
In the last 16 years, even in my house, those times I was not in jail, I have had no security. I have been repeatedly insulted, beaten and tortured. During an attack by plain clothes forces on November 15, 2007, in the office of weekly magazine Payam-e-Daneshjoo, they beat me almost to death.
My rights have been taken away. In the last 16 years this regime has withheld and postponed my freedom, censored my ideas, and made me insecure and unsafe. This has been done under three different judiciary heads: Mr. Mohammad Yazdi, Mr. Mahmood Shahroodi, and Mr. Sadeq Larijani. But the real responsibility is assigned to the Supreme Leader, who is answerable for any actions beyond law. Therefore all powers are ultimately under the jurisdiction of this leader.
Based on this, I, who am now imprisoned under new illegal and unjust charges,ask you honorable lawyers to help me so that I can remedy some of the losses that I have sustained by pursuing charges against the Islamic Republic through international courts – something that I have been forced to do [as I have no other avenue left to pursue].
I am officially sending my protest against Mr. Ali Khamenei, the leader of Islamic Republic of Iran directly to international courts and I ask you the honourable lawyers and all free men for help so this complaint can find its legal course and be pursued effectively.
I ask the ladies Ms. Mehrangizkar and Ms. Shirin Ebadi, and Mr. Abdolkarimi Laheji and Mr. Mohamad Mostafaie and all international lawyers and relevant organizations related to human rights to help me in this important matter.
I accuse Mr. Ali Khamenei – who holds absolute, supra-legal, unaccountable and life-long powers – of crimes against me as listed below, and I seek remedy for all the material and non-material damages that he has incurred upon me:
- Forced censorship and investigation of beliefs
- Illegal banning of magazines: Payam-e-Daneshjoo, Neda-ye-Daneshjoo, Hoviyat-e-Khish and Gozaresh-e-Rooz.
- Deprivation of rights such as freedom of speech.
- Repeated beatings by security, police and military forces.
- Frequent and repeated detentions.
- Torture in military and intelligence prisons.
- The convictions and lengthy prison sentences are issued by incompetent security courts and under various provisions. These are violations of the principles of the constitution regarding the fundamental rights of citizens and that of all free people.
- In addition to the 11 years of my life I’ve already spent in prison, I’ve been sentenced to 9 additional years and 74 lashes.
- Closing all my party, organization and legal activities by arresting me,repressing and denying me my basic rights.
- Putting me under the pressure of security forces; threatening and intimidating my family members with telephone threats; and attacking my home and office.
- Preventing meetings and peaceful protests which are the legal rights of every free citizen. These rights have been suppressed under the guise of collusion and conspiracy to disturb national security.
- Preventing me from participating in the free self-determination through free elections. This action has been done by the Guardian Council.
It is important to note that there are documents and sources available support the claims above and will be delivered as soon as an international court is convened to pursue charges against the government under Ali Khamenei for their criminal actions.
Hashmatullah Tabarzadi, Political Prisoner
Rejaeeshahr Prison, 2010
English Translation by Liss Nup