A Defiant Seifzadeh Awaits Ruling
As the Iranian Judiciary continues to reschedule prominent human rights defender Mohammad Seifzadeh’s trial, he continues to refuse to attend the session. His wife and lawyer, Fatemeh Golzar, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his refusal is based on his distrust in the court’s competence.
“As per Mr. Seifzadeh’s request, I only submitted his defense bill to the court. Now we await the ruling. His prior cases were all ready for a ruling, too, and I don’t know why they kept re-scheduling court sessions. I doubt his court sessions will be renewed, unless for some reason there are preferences for holding the case this way. Mr. Seifzadeh’s position is clear, as previously announced. He will participate in none of his court sessions because he does not regard the court qualified,” said Fatemeh Golzar.
In April 2011, security forces arrested Mohammad Seifzadeh in Orumiyeh on charges of illegal border crossing. While in detention, he was newly charged with “collusion and assembly against national security” for writing a letter to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and two critical articles about “legal pardon procedures” and “definition of political crimes,” as well as signing several group statements from inside prison.
In November 2010, Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Mohammad Seifzadeh to nine years in prison and a ten-year ban on practicing law on the charge of of “acting against national security through co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” Eventually, an appeals court reduced his sentence to two years.
“I have followed up this case many times, but there has not been a ruling on it yet,” said Golzar, explaining that her husband is currently in prison for aforementioned charge, and that the sentence on the other two charges is still pending.
The pending case’s first court convened on 10 January, but Seifzadeh refused to attend the session and only submitted his defense bill. The court session was then rescheduled for 11 March, and again for 9 April.
“I only hope that a law-abiding individual like my husband who has never needed anyone to force him into observing the laws would never fall into this trap and be questioned like this. It is such a pity for people like him to fall in prison like this, because this is not the right place for my husband,” added Seifzadeh’s wife.