Ghabel On Trial For Revealing Vakilabad Executions Amidst Lack Of Accountability by Judiciary
While judicial authorities refuse to provide any information pertaining to Mashad executions, Ahmad Ghabel, a theological researcher and prisoner of conscience, has to be accountable for speaking about the executions. Hadi Ghabel’s wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Ghabel asked the Branch 5 judge at Mashad Courts during the third session of his trial not to order his transfer from the prison for the next trial session. Ghabel stated the reason for the request the fact that he had been disrespected by prison authorities during the body search as he was transferred from prison to court. The charge against the prisoner of conscience and whistle blower in the case of group executions at Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison is “interviewing with news websites.”
“Unfortunately, they would not even let me into the Courts building. I had to wait outside by the entrance from 9:00 a.m. when they brought my husband in until 12:20 when the session was adjourned and they finally allowed me to enter. We could only talk for five minutes. I got the rest of the information from him on the phone,” Marzieh Pasdar told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about her husband’s trial session.
“He said that most of his charges are about “propagating lies,” and the material he was quoted to have told the websites, including revelations about Mashad Prison executions and other statements he had made. But apparently, other statements quoted from “a prisoner,” also published on the websites, have been attributed to him, too. In this case he defended himself by saying that ‘I am only responsible for material directly quoted from me,'” said Marzieh Pasdar about Ahmad Ghabel’s statements.
“Another one of Ghabel’s charges is ‘insulting the Founder of the Islamic Republic’ [referring to Imam Khomeini]. He did not accept this charge in court. He said that in none of his statements has he insulted the Leader. During that first session, the judge asked him to provide proof for his statements. We searched and found the CD of all the questions asked [of Ahmad Ghabel] and his answers, the ones the court was asking about, and sent it to court through his lawyer, along with its transcript,” Ahmad Ghabel’s wife continued.
“He told me that due to the inappropriate behavior of prison authorities during his body searches as he left and re-entered the prison, which has caused him grievances, he has asked the court judge not to bring him to court during the next session and to issue his ruling in his absence, and that he would then defend himself in writing. Ghabel had objected to this treatment before, but it appears that [his objections] have had no effect,” the prisoner of conscience’s wife added.
Ahmad Ghabel’s wife described his physical and psychological state during her short meeting with him as fair. “He wasn’t bad, thank God his spirits were good. Of course he takes medicine, because last time, as soon as he was released from prison, he got sick and had to be put under treatment; but the pills brought his heart condition under control,” she said.
Ahmad Ghabel is a political critic who has written several critical letters to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Last December, he was arrested as he was on his way to attend the Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri’s funeral. Head of Branch 5 of Mashad Revolutionary Courts ordered his release on bail of $50,000 on 11 June after Ghabel had remained in prison for 170 days. However, he was returned to prison in September after he spoke of group executions inside Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison.