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Author Topic:   Jailed Iran journalists' wives to charge judges
posted January 03, 2001 09:45     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By Ali Raiss-Tousi

TEHRAN, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Wives of jailed reformist Iranian journalists gathered at the Palace of Justice, Tehran's central courthouse, on Monday to file suit against two hardline judges for allegedly breaching codes of procedure.

Masoumeh Ganji, wife of maverick investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, said she did not doubt judges Saeed Mortazavi of the Press Court and Hassan Ahmadi Moqaddas of the Revolutionary Court would be discharged from office.

"We have come today to file suit at the office of the special prosecutor for judges," she told Reuters. "If the case is investigated and adjudicated properly, both judges will be deposed from office."

The alleged breaches of procedure include long periods of "unlawful" solitary confinement, prohibition of family visits and weekly phone calls which prison regulations allow as well as the trial of some of the
journalists without a press jury.

Iran's constitution demands that all alleged press offences be tried in the presence of a jury.

A judiciary spokesman told state radio on Monday the judiciary would welcome any complaint against judges' actions through official channels.

Judge Mortazavi, the man most responsible for closing down dozens of reformist publications and jailing journalists, is widely alleged to be connected to the Islamic Coalition Society, a far-right political party
hostile to reforms.

The Tehran justice department, though, has denied any links between its judges and political parties.

Mortazavi is already being investigated on "minor" violations by the special prosecutor on other issues, the conservative daily Resalat said on Monday.


Judge Ahmadi of the Revolutionary Court, who presided over the trial of some 19 activists who attended a conference in Berlin on Iran's reforms on charges of threatening state security, has been investigated by parliament, Ganji said.

Her husband, a best-selling author of three books on Iran's reforms, was a guest speaker at the conference.

"A report prepared by parliament's judicial affairs committee has been submitted to the speaker of parliament on Judge Ahmadi's infractions," she said. No details of parliament's findings have been made public.

An open letter by newspaper editors Mashallah Shamsolvaezin and Emadeddin Baqi, currently serving long prison sentences imposed by Mortazavi after hearings held in the absence of a press jury, was distributed among
reporters by their spouses.

Their letter to Iran's powerful judiciary chief protested "psychological pressure" and other restrictions imposed on them by Mortazavi who wants them to withdraw earlier complaints against him. Iran's judiciary is a
stronghold of hardliners bitterly opposed to the political and cultural reforms promised, but not yet delivered, by moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

More than 30 independent publications were banned by the judiciary last year after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the reformist press of being "bases of the enemy".

Journalists Akbar Ganji and Ahmad Zeydabadi have spent many months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison pending trial. Fellow journalists Baqi, Shamsolvaezin and Latif Safari have already been sentenced.

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