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UPDATED Iran Document: The Prosecutor on the Executions, "Leaders of Sedition" (15 May)

UPDATE 1045 GMT: OK, I won't say that the Iranian authorities are feeling the pressure of the fallout from the 9 May executions, but Dowlatabadi's public-relations campaign is becoming more intense. He has now given an interview to Press TV, which has provided a "rush transcript". The discussion covers both the case of Clotilde Reiss, the French graduate student released by Iran this weekend, and the five Iranians who were hung; however, Press TV's headline focuses only on the latter, "Tehran prosecutor talks crimes of executed five".

There is little in Dowlatabadi's beyond the interview with Fars News, translated and posted blow. Instead, the significance is the outlet. Given Press TV is Iran's international outlet, looks like Tehran feels a need to sway foreign as well domestic opinion.

The US Open Source Center provides a translation of Saturday's statement of Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, carried by Fars News (hat tip to an EA reader):

Ja'fari-Dowlatabadi has provided some details about the times, the methods and the reasons for the arrest of five counter-revolutionary terrorists who have been executed recently. He also warned one of the defeated candidates in the election, pointing out that his support for those individuals was a new offense, and the day when the trial of the leaders of sedition starts attention will be paid to all these issues as well.

According to the report of the legal correspondent of Fars News Agency, in a comprehensive interview the Public Prosecutor of Tehran Abbas Ja'fari-Dowlatabadi has referred to the way that five counter-revolutionary individuals were arrested. He said: "As it has been pointed out in the statement issued by the prosecutor's office, law-enforcement officials became suspicions of a vehicle on 28/5/1385 (18 August 2006), and while inspecting it they discovered five kilograms of explosives in it. Three individuals known as Farzad Kamangar, Farhad Vakili and Ali Heydarian who were trying to flee were arrested. Of course, one of those individuals managed to escape, but he was arrested later on in Sanandaj."

He added: "The activities of those three individuals included preparing a team (safe) house in Tehran in order to carry out terrorist operations, as well as making use of forged documents. In subsequent searches, 17 kilograms of explosives and a large quantity of weapons, including 57 RPG shells and 600 rounds of ammunition were seized."

According to the remarks of Tehran prosecutor, subsequent searches showed that the accused had been busy carrying out acts of sabotage since 1377 (the year that stated on 20 March 1998). However, they had started their operations after the armed Pezhak (Kurdish separatist group PEJAK) mini-group was formed. They had managed to explode bombs in the buildings of Kermanshah's governor's office and the Department of Commerce. Fortunately, they were arrested before they were able to carry out explosions in Tehran, which they had planned.

Referring to the fact that the families of the executed individuals have given rise to certain suspicions in Western media that the accused had been convicted in a trial lasting six minutes, he told Panjareh (Windows) Weekly: "The destroyed (executed) individuals were arrested on 28/5/1385. On 1/4/1386 (21 June 2007), namely a year later, a bill of indictment was issued for them. Their trial was held on 10/11/1386 (29 January 2008) after the bill of indictment had been sent to the court. The court sentence was communicated to the accused on 6/12/1386 (24 February 2008). As the result of their protest (appeal) their case was sent to the country's Supreme Court, and the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 10/12/1387 (28 February 2009), or about a year later."

He stressed: "The process of the trial started on 25/8/1385 (18 August 2006), and it ended on 10/12/1387, and the sentences were carried out in the year 1389 (the year starting on 20 March 2010). In other words, the process of the trial of the accused had taken four years."

All the four accused were directly involved in terrorist missions planned by Pezhak (PEJAK). Responding to a question as to whether all the five (as published) individuals who had been arrested had been members of Pezhak mini-group, Tehran's prosecutor said: "Farzad Kamangar, Farhad Vakili, Ali Heydarian, and Shirin Alam-Huli were members of Pezhak mini-group. Alam-Huli had been arrested in Tehran on 6/3/1387 (26 May 2008) following some explosive operations at the premises of the Guards Corps. Her latest defense (presumably interrogation) had been made on 7/6/1387 (28 August 2008) and then her file was sent to the court. She was tried on 7/10/1387 (27 December 2008), and her sentence had been confirmed (presumably by Supreme Court) on 25/11/1388 (13 February 2009)."

He pointed out: "All the four condemned had been directly involved in Pezhak (PEJAK) mini-group terrorist missions, and explosives had been seized from all of them. The activities of those individuals fell under article 186 of the Islamic penal code. On the basis of that article, anyone who is a member or supporter of the warring (muharib) armed groups that are opposed to the system of the Islamic Republic and who had taken active and effective steps against the system will be regarded as a muharib. This is the text of the law, and it is not the case that the judiciary will condemn anyone to death for no reason."

Ja'fari Dowlatabadi added: "Those four individuals had been actively cooperating with the hostile mini-groups that had been fighting against the system of the Islamic Republic. Explosives had been discovered on them, they had taken part in explosive operations, and there is no doubt or hesitancy about the fact that they have been guilty and muharib, and the court sentences had been issued correctly."

Mehdi Eslamian was a member of the counter-revolutionary Tondar mini-group (a monarchist organisation). Regarding the fifth person, namely Mehdi Eslamian, Tehran prosecutor said: "He was a member of the counter-revolutionary Tondar mini-group, and he had been involved in the explosion in the Rahpuyan-e Vesal Hoseyniyyeh (a special mosque for holding Imam Husayn mourning ceremonies) in Shiraz, which had resulted in the martyrdom of about 14 people among the pious inhabitants of that city. Eslamian's brother, called Mohsen, was executed in Ordibehesht last year (the month starting on 20 April 2009) of last year in Shiraz."

Tehran prosecutor pointed out that Eslamian had prior knowledge regarding that explosion and when the perpetrators of that explosion had fled he had played an important role in providing financial and other forms of support for his brother. Ja'fari Dowlatabadi said: "His brother had come to Tehran in order to carry out explosive operations and Mehdi Eslamian had been cooperating with his brother during all the stages while being fully informed about his intention."

Creating such a negative climate is aimed at weakening the judiciary's ability to issue similar sentences in the future

This responsible official in the Judiciary responded to the point that the families of the condemned had called for the implementation of article 18 (of Islamic penal codes). He said: "It would only be possible to suspend the implementation of confirmed sentences only if an amnesty is issued by the esteemed leader of the revolution (Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i). The other alternative is to move in a different direction, such as the implementation of the amendment concerning article 18 of the law regarding public and revolutionary courts. We are not the body that can investigate the request about the implementation of the amended article 18."

He pointed out: "If their lawyer had wished to make a request in connection with that article, he should have followed up the matter through official channels. Furthermore, the implementation of that article is a part of the prerogative of the esteemed head of the Judiciary (Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani), and the reports regarding the files had been brought to his notice before the sentences had been carried out. The reason that they made that claim was merely in order to cast doubt and suspicion on the implementation of the sentences."

Speaking about the hostile propaganda of foreign media regarding the execution of the above-mentioned individuals, Tehran prosecutor said: "There is no doubt about the hostility of arrogant and Western media towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. They make use of every opportunity to deliver blows at the Islamic system. Furthermore, by engaging in a great deal of hue and cry Western media are trying to prevent Iran's progress. They know that the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is faithful to its religious and ideological values. Consequently, they engage in hostile propaganda in order to force the judiciary to give in to their demands as the result of their hostile propaganda. They try to frighten the judges so that if other such sentences were to be passed they could not be implemented. However, such tools are ineffective."

Tehran prosecutor stressed: "One should kiss the hands of these honest judges who are bravely withstanding such pressures." He added: "I believe that such hostile propaganda is mainly in order to create a climate as the result of which they can pursue their goals. They know that under no system, including their own liberal systems, will the government allow armed groups to try to topple the government. The only exception is the work carried out by liberation movements in the occupied (Palestinian) territories, such as the work that is being carried out against the Zionist regime. All governments condemn the use of terrorism, weapons and explosives. How can Western media support the armed terrorist groups that have been involved in explosive operations and who have confessed to the membership in counter-revolutionary mini-groups (whose headquarters are still in existence)?"

Ja'fari Dowlatabadi added: "Such hostile propaganda is only aimed at weakening the Judiciary trying to prevent it from issuing similar sentences. Nevertheless, as in the past, the Judiciary will remain firm and strong against the criminals and those who have committed some offenses and who are active against the Islamic system, and it will act within the framework of the law. Under no circumstances would the non-implementation of final sentences be acceptable."

The execution of those five individuals had nothing to do with recent disturbances.
Tehran prosecutor was told that foreign media engage in a great deal of propaganda alleging that the individuals who had been executed had been among those who had been accused of involvement in post-election events. He said: "The two people who were executed last year [Mohammad Reza Zamani and Arash Ramanipour, hung in January] and these five individuals who have been executed have two different experiences (as published). Regarding the first two, called Mohammad Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanpur, we carried out the sentences without providing any information (presumably to the media). We only took part in one press conference, and we did not connect their issue to the events on the day of Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, when there were some clashes in Tehran)."

He added: "Of course, the time when the executions were carried out was close to those events and was prior to the 30th of Bahman (18 February 2010). The Westerners have made those claims in order to engage in hostile propaganda. Following those hostile propaganda, in a statement we also revealed some facts about those two individuals as well."

In response to a question by Panjareh (Weekly), this judicial official stressed: "Regarding these five individuals, we issued a statement at the same time when the sentences were implemented, in order not to repeat the former experience. Nevertheless, we see that they (presumably Western media) are still pursuing their goals. The offenses of these seven people have been entirely connected with the events prior to the election and the subsequent disturbances."

He stressed: "Those executions had nothing to do with recent disturbances. Some people try to insinuate that through these executions the judiciary has tried to create a climate of fear and intimidation on the eve of the month of Khordad (June) and the anniversary of the election. However, we strongly deny those claims."

Ja'fari Dowlatabadi added: "These sentences had to be carried out, and the time for the implementation of those sentences is up to the prosecutor. Naturally, we must choose the times in such a way that it would give rise to the least amount of suspicion. We thought that this was a good time for carrying out those sentences. We do not have any analysis regarding a connection (presumably there was no connection) between those executions and the anniversary of the election or the period leading up to it."

He pointed out that some sentences might be passed now, but they may be executed many years later. How could one engage in an analysis (say) that these sentences have been passed for the sake of those days? In the year 1385 nobody could have imagined what would happen in the year 1388, so that we could have prepared those sentences for today."

The death sentences of three people were commuted to jail sentences by the court of appeal

In response to a question as to whether any of those who had been arrested in connection with the post-election events had been executed or not, Dowlatabadi said: "We have issued bills of indictment for ten people who had been arrested during the post-election events, especially on Ashura, on charges of muharib (fighting against God). Three of the sentences of execution passed by the primary court were confirmed by the court of appeal."

He provided the following details about these cases: "Ahmad Daneshpur-Moqaddam, Mohsen Daneshpur-Moqaddam, and Abdolreza Qanbari have been among the supporters and partisans of the Hypocrites (Monafeqin, a pejorative way of referring to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation) mini-group. On the day of Ashura, Abdolreza Qanbari was directly sending reports to the Hypocrites. The death sentences of those three individuals have been confirmed. However, they have asked for an amnesty. Three other people called Motahhari Bahrami-Haqiqi, Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim-Dabbagh, and Hadi Qa'emi were sentenced to death in the preliminary court, but the appeal court has commuted their sentences to imprisonment."

Arsalan Abadi and Mohammad Valian have been found not guilty of acting as muharib (warriors against God). Ja'fari Dowlatabadi added: "At the moment, we have three death sentences that have been confirmed, which refer to Mohammad Ali Saremi, Ja'far Kazemi, and someone known as Mohammad Ali Hajaqa'i. All three are among the supporters of the Hypocrites and their links with the Hypocrites are clear and definite. These three who have organizational affiliation (to the Mojahedin) were arrested in Shahrivar 1388 (September 2009)."

Tehran's prosecutor said: "Consequently, the bills of indictment issued in connection with the events of Ashura on charges of muhariba (fighting against God) include ten cases. Out of those, Arsalan Abadi and Mohammad Valian have been acquitted of charges of muhariba. The sentences of three of them have been confirmed and the sentences of three others have been commuted. The charges against two other individuals have not been investigated yet and they are awaiting trial."

He stressed that so far none of those sentences has been carried out and that all the hue and cry that is being made regarding the issue is baseless. He continued: "However, it is important to point out that the sentences of 217 of those who have been found guilty in connection with post-election incidents have been confirmed. Their protests (appeals) have been investigated and the sentences have been confirmed."

It would have been better for the former prime minister (Mir Hossein Musavi) if he had not added these charges to his file

Regarding the statement issued by one of the election candidates, in which he has condemned these executions, this judiciary official said: "In this connection, I remind you to two Islamic teachings. The first teaching is that you should not speak about an issue about which you have no knowledge. The second teaching is that one should not cover up the facts. The Jewish people were accused (in the Koran) of having covered up some facts despite having been aware of them. Covering up the facts is one of the worst charges that the Holy Koran has laid against the Prophet's opponents."

He added: "I would like to ask that individual (Mousavi) how many pages of these files he has read that he allows himself to pass such judgement on them. It would have been better for him if he had not added these charges to his file."

Tehran's prosecutor pointed out: "What is the meaning of defending those who have committed terrorist acts, who have martyred a number of people, from who a number of weapons have been seized and who have risen up against the Islamic system! How can those who claim to be following the line of the Imam (Khomeini) (may he rest in peace) forget his teachings regarding the need to fight against the warring mini-groups!"

Ja'fari Dowlatabadi added: "He (Mousavi) was the prime minister during the years when a number of executions were carried out against the Hypocrites on the orders of the Imam. If he is making such claims now, how could he have served during those years? He has no right to question the sentences of the courts that have been confirmed and to express a view about them that would please the enemies of the Islamic system."

The prosecutor general would definitely act about the support of a candidate for the individuals who have been executed

The public and revolutionary prosecutor of Tehran was asked about the investigation of the file of that individual (Mousavi). He said: "By expressing those views, he has in fact supported the guilty individuals and the counter-revolutionary mini-groups and has questioned the explicit sentences of the court. When a sentence has been confirmed no one is entitled to accuse the judiciary and in this way to please the enemies of the Islamic Republic, so that they imagine that we have executed a number of innocent individuals, and this is very unfair."

Dowlatabadi stressed: "The prosecutor general will definitely act at an appropriate time, and this has nothing to do with the electoral issues. In the year 1367 (the year that started on 20th March 1988) he (Mousavi) was completely familiar with the binding orders of His Eminence the Imam (may he rest in peace) regarding the Hypocrites, and he knows full well that the judiciary acts within the framework of national laws. The contents of the files clearly demonstrate that fact. He has been aware of the files of Farzad Kamangar (one of the five executed on 9 May) and others. The fact that the sentences are carried out a few years later does not mean that the sentences that had been issued had been wrong. They had not been carried out (earlier on) for a number of reasons and now the judiciary has carried them out."

He stressed: "It would be better for these individuals who claim to be following the line of the Imam to act in accordance with what they claim. They should specially support this system that has been founded on the basis of Islam and the Koran."

Tehran's prosecutor added: "Such actions are tantamount to trying to flee forward (trying to take the offensive) in order to say that all the sentences that are issued are invalid. In his statement he has stated that we have detained a number of people who have served (the country). However, those who have been arrested in the course of the election disturbances are those who have acted against national security, and according to the laws of the Islamic penal code any action against national security must be punished."

Some of the supporting statements and views of a defeated election candidate are tantamount to spreading lies (against the system)

Speaking about the way that Tehran prosecutor's office would act against the phenomenon of issuing illegal statements, Dowlatabadi said: "We have repeatedly said that we distinguish between criticism and committing a crime. According to the constitution and the press law, it is permissible to criticize the officials of the Islamic Republic and their performance, and nobody should have any concerns regarding that. Criticism has been allowed both during the leadership of His Eminence the Imam and under the leadership of the esteemed leader of the revolution. However, engaging in insults and questioning the pillars of the revolution and supporting some activities that are forbidden by the law would be regarded as offenses."

He stressed: "This man's views and the support that he has provided (for those who have been executed) are tantamount to spreading lies, and expressing such views is an offense. Nowhere in the world is the judiciary attacked in such a brazen manner, especially at a time when the sentences that have been passed by the courts have been confirmed (by the Supreme Court)."

Tehran prosecutor said: "These people wish to please certain individuals and to achieve some status for themselves. However, they overlook the fact that such stances are quite contrary to the aspirations of His Eminence the Imam and his support for the Islamic Republic, in the same way that the events on the day of Ashura exposed a number of people. Some time ago, this man also met with the members of the Freedom Movement, which was very strongly criticised by the Imam, and the views that he expresses are in keeping with the views of that movement."

On the day when the trial of the leaders of sedition starts, attention will be paid to all these issues

Tehran prosecutor stressed: "Many of the stances that he and another defeated candidate have adopted constitute offenses, but as the Islamic system acts on the basis of some considerations regarding their trial we have left it to an appropriate time."
This responsible official in the judiciary pointed out that the fact that we keep quiet does not mean that their actions do not constitute offenses. He said: "Trying them on charges of acting as the leaders of sedition would depend on some Islamic considerations, and we shall definitely act on that basis. However, his recent statement in support of the destroyed (executed) counter-revolutionary criminals is one that is quite different from his former electoral statements and it is contrary to the principles. When they are put on trial all of these issues will be taken into consideration."

The sentences of 217 individual who have been found guilty have been confirmed
Ja'fari Dowlatabadi pointed out that the judiciary must act in accordance with the law, but as the Imam had pointed out the Islamic system takes into account certain considerations that may be beyond our understanding. He added: "Today, we are not acting according to the public demand for prosecuting the leaders of sedition. This is not due to weakness, or negligence, or some form of coordination with them or due to the lack of concern. The reason for this delay is that the time for it (the trial) has not yet arrived." He stressed: "When the right time comes we shall act, exactly as one picks a fruit that is ripe."

Tehran prosecutor said: "We would like to reassure the people that the judiciary acts within this framework. If we are keeping quiet these days it does not mean that we accept (agree with) those statements." He added: "Our working experience during the past 30 years have shown us to act in such a way that we will achieve the goals of the revolution. God willing, we shall respond to this public demand at the right time."

At the end, Ja'fari Dowlatabadi pointed out: "So far, none of the sentences concerning those who have been arrested in connection with recent events has been implemented, and all this hue and cry is baseless. However, it is necessary to point out that the sentences of 217 individuals who have been found guilty of involvement in the post-election incidents have been confirmed. Their protests have been investigated and the sentences have been confirmed."

Reader Comments (4)

“Those executions had nothing to do with recent disturbances. Some people try to insinuate that through these executions the judiciary has tried to create a climate of fear and intimidation on the eve of the month of Khordad (June) and the anniversary of the election. However, we strongly deny those claims.”

“These sentences had to be carried out, and the time for the implementation of those sentences is up to the prosecutor. Naturally, we must choose the times in such a way that it would give rise to the least amount of suspicion. We thought that this was a good time for carrying out those sentences."
What? Is there a problem in the translation here or parts left out? Is the Farsi less vague and the implied meaning general knowledge? What does "within the system" or "this framework" mean, like, specifically. If it is up to the prosecutor, why now? "For a number of reasons"? What reasons? Why in the times in the past? Why not choose another time, then? The circular logic seems to beg incredulity. Even if I gave the benefit of the doubt and took his word for their guilt (and this plus the state press seems to be all the evidence I get), fine. But the defense of the timing of the executions ("did we charge them four years ago knowing this would happen" - wow, there was an ironclad straw man) I sure hope wasn't as weak as it appeared here, in translation. Strike that, I do hope they were that weak.

What does it mean for a sentence to be "confirmed" - by who? With what transparency? and save me the so-called "independent checks and balances" - aka - kick the ball so that when we ask that official, they'll kick the ball again, and so on.

If the Press Law is as open as claimed, are investigative reporters allowed to muckrake on their own (he officially jumped the shark bringing up the Press Law, and fine history that has, never mind the constitution they selectively apply).

And no country criticizes its Judiciary this much? I guess that's relative, but apparently he's never heard of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, to name but one controversial SCOTUS decision.

Anyway, I can only assume that these executions were as untimed as Doulatabadi's charges of sedition were here. Funny when some issues and "details" flow forth and are expounded on more willingly than others... Coincidences all, I'm sure. And, the khat-e Imam line was getting a bit tiresome, as well. Say it a few times, but don't wear it thin. When in doubt, I guess, cloak yourself in Khomeini's mantle. Ergo, any further criticism against you, is therefore against the Imam. Touché.

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKurt

A Question:

Let us assume for a second that all statements of Mr Doulatabadi are true. Why then the fear of handing out the bodies to the families? Is there anything to hide for the IR's honourable "justice"?
Even a week later the executed have not been given to their mourning families, who have announced a sit-in in front of the Gouvernor's office in Sanandaj for Wednesday:" rel="nofollow">

If this regime fears even its dead, what about the living? After all it cannot imprison all those millions, who have voted for Moussavi and Karroubi...

ma bishomarim


May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

According to the statement of Ja’fari-Dowlatabadi he gives a spontaneous and hard prove that even the prosecutor didn’t know what a fair trial it is: He made his unproved accusations after he had tortured and murdered the five.

To make it clear: The horrible lawyer and prosecutor Ja’fari-Dowlatabadi is acting against the laws of the so called Islamic Republic.

The five were accused of "enmity against God" for carrying out "terrorist acts" and convicted of this vaguely worded charge. Despite the serious accusations the five were denied fair trials. Three of the defendants were tortured and two forced to 'confess' under duress.

It was reported on May 13, 2010 that intelligence and security forces, by using intimidation and threats, have put the Kamangar family under house arrest.

1. The Five were executed in violation of Iranian law, which requires the authorities to notify prisoners' lawyers in advance before carrying out executions.
Trials in Iran are frequently unfair, with detainees routinely denied access to a lawyer. Proceedings outside Tehran are often summary, lasting only a few minutes.

2. Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian and Farhad Vakili - were sentenced to death for alleged membership and activities for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a Turkish armed opposition group that has been fighting the Turkish government.
Farzad Kamangar, a teacher, had been held for seven months prior to being allowed to meet with his family. According to a letter he wrote, circulated on the internet in April 2008, he was repeatedly tortured following his arrest in May 2006. He was whipped, held in a freezing cold room and guards played 'football' with his body, surrounding him and pummelling him as he was "passed" between guards.

The mother of Farzad told:
“What do the youth want besides freedom? What crime has Farzad committed except seeking freedom? He has spent 4 years in prison. Lately his lawyer wanted to review his file and they have told him that the file is lost! His lawyer has suffered a stroke because of the stress caused by Farzad’s case and the tens of other similar cases, and is now hospitalized.

3. Shirin Alam-Holi, the woman who was executed, was accused of belonging to another Kurdish group, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (known by its Kurdish acronym PJAK), an Iranian armed group that is banned in Iran.

She was repeatedly beaten, including on the soles of her feet, kicked in the stomach, causing internal bleeding, and when she went on hunger strike, force fed through nasal tubes which she ripped out in protest, damaging her nose. She said she had made a videotaped "confession" after she was hospitalized and given an injection.

In a letter from prison, Shirin Alam-Holi said she had had nightmares because of what her interrogators did to her.

4. The fifth person executed, Mehdi Eslamian, was accused of providing financial assistance to his brother, who was executed in early 2009 for allegedly bombing a mosque in Shiraz in April 2008. Mehdi Eslamian is reported to have been tortured including by being flogged and beaten; he was denied medical attention for injuries sustained while in custody and forced to "confess".
Source: Amnesty international

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGunniy

Wow now it is a crime to offer any support for those executed. The translation says if you don't agree with us your going to be prosecuted as well!!! So much for an actual fair trial having occured here.

May 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill Davit

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