Post-Election Protestor in Danger of Imminent Execution; “This Death Sentence Is Political; He Is Innocent”
While news reports indicate that Jafar Kazemi’s execution orders have been forwarded to Evin Prison’s “Sentence Implementation Unit,” and he is in danger of imminent execution, a human rights activist familiar with this prisoner of conscience’s case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that throughout his entire interrogation, investigation, and trial proceedings, Jafar Kazemi has refuted claims by security and judicial forces about his membership or contact with the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MEK), and it is not clear based upon what evidence his death sentence has been issued and upheld at appeals stage.
Jafar Kazemi, 46, a lithographer of textbooks at Amir Kabir University Press, was arrested on September 18, 2009 in Tehran. He was transferred to a solitary cell inside Ward 209 of Evin prison where he remained for 74 days before being transferred to Ward 350 of Evin prison. Previously, Jafar Kazemi had served time in prison from 1981 to 1989. Jafar Kazemi’s wife, Roudabeh Akbari, wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, asking for his assistance to stop her husband’s death sentence. Kazemi was initially tried at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Courts.
Previously, Kazemi’s lawyer, Nasim Ghanavi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, that her client, Jafar Kazemi’s death sentence had been upheld at an appeals court, and her request for a retrial had been rejected by Branch 31 of the Supreme Court. The death sentence ruling has been confirmed by Branch 36 of Tehran Appeals Courts, presided by Judge Zarger. Ghanavi told the Campaign that her client had spent a long time in solitary confinement.
“His trip to Iraq over the past years has only been for meeting with his son. Additionally, Mr. Kazemi was arrested several months before Ashura [27 December 2009], but in a false and politically-motivated statement, it was announced that Mr. Kazemi was one of the Ashura Day public protesters. During the hurried show trials which were conducted for Ashura Day suspects without regard for fair trial procedures, and broadcast on the Iranian state television in January 2010, Mr. Kazemi’s sentence was issued by Judge Salavati on this charge. Mr. Jafari Dolatabadi, the Tehran Prosecutor, claimed in an interview on 15 May 2010, that Jafar Kazemi had been one of the Ashura Day protesters and has received the death sentence because of his participation in the Ashura Day protests. However, Jafar Kazemi had been arrested months before Ashura [27 December 2009], and was in prison on Ashura Day. Both the January 2010 show trial, presided by Judge Salavati, and the Prosecutor’s May 2010 non-factual statements are the most important reasons for proving that this ruling is political and non-judicial,” the activist told the Campaign.
“During all phases of his interrogation, investigation, and lower court trial, Jafar Kazemi has been denied the right to a lawyer and a fair trial. The ruling issued for him was completely political and only aimed to intimidate the society during the post-Ashura days and days leading to February 11, 2010 [the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution]. Right now, also, there is concern that in pursuit of its political goals inside and outside the country, the Iranian government may suddenly carry out the execution at an unknown time. Mr. Kazemi is innocent and his only contact with the MEK is the presence of his son at Ashraf Camp,” the human rights activist added.
In an earlier interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Jafar Kazemi’s lawyer, Nasin Ghanavi talked about Kazemi’s case. “Jafar Kazemi is accused of moharebeh, enmity with God, through his alleged support for the Mojahedin-E Khalgh Organization (MEK), even though he has not accepted these charges during any of his interrogation sessions… The charge of moharebeh, enmity with God, is one of those charges which must only be levied against a suspect with full consideration for conditions defined in Islamic jurisprudence for it, including the requirement of “armed action.” Many Shiite scholars believe that a mohareb is an individual who takes up arms. This was not the case for my client. He merely participated in the post-election gatherings. He may have chanted some slogans, but as his lawyer, I am convinced that the charge of moharebeh does not apply to him at all,” said Nasim Ghanavi.
“Unfortunately, our defense was ignored in the lower court, in the appeals court, and at the Supreme Court. They all confirmed the moharebeh charge against him….Jafar Kazemi’s case has been forwarded to the Implementations Unit, and legally, there are no further steps possible for saving Jafar Kazemi’s life,” said Kazemi’s lawyer.