Iranian-American Scholar Prevented From Filing an Appeal
In a Blatantly Illegal Act, Authorities Denying Kian Tajbakhsh’s Right to Appeal
(29 October 2009) Judiciary officials in charge of the case of Iranian-American sociologist Kian Tajbakhsh, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly trying to overthrow the Iranain government, are refusing to allow his lawyer to file an appeal on his behalf in violation of Iranian law, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
On 18 October, Tajbakhsh was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a lower court. According to the Iranian law, a defendant has 20 days to file an appeal. With only 10 days left for such an appeal to be filed, Judiciary officials have repeatedly refused to allow Tajbakhsh’s lawyer to file the required paperwork.
According to sources close to Tajbakhsh’s family, the officials have responded to the lawyer’s protests by telling him, “It’s our law, so we can do what we want with it.”
“The Iranian Judiciary is blatantly trampling over its own rules and regulations. In doing so, the authorities are confirming that Tajbakhsh’s detention, trial and conviction are patently politically motivated,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
“By treating the law in this arbitrary manner, they are also demonstrating that the rule of law means nothing in Iran,” he said.
The Campaign called on the head of the Judiciary, Sadiq Larijani, to immediately review Tajbakhsh’s case and in light of serious irregularities to order an impartial appeals court to take on the case.
Tajbakhsh was prosecuted along with over a hundred other defendants during the past two months in “show trials” that human rights organizations have condemned as lacking any due process or respect for minimum international standards of justice.
Tajbakhsh’s indictment, read in the courtroom on 25 August, included the following charges, to which he was found guilty despite prosecutors having produced no supporting evidence: “Acting against national security, by membership in the internet network related to Gary Sick, a CIA agent, and other foreign elements with the purpose of urging people to riot in presidential elections; spying and connections with foreign elements against the sacred system of the Islamic Republic; accepting a consultancy position with the Soros Foundation aimed at the soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran; propaganda activities against the sacred system of the Islamic Republic by participation in illegal assemblies and causing doubt and giving impression of fraud and cheating in election results; and causing lack of public trust towards the official national organs and the ruling system by instigating rioting, mayhem, fear and terror within the society.”