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Second trial of Islamic republic started in Paris criminal court
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posted June 27, 2001 09:31
By Iraj Fatemi
PARIS 25 June (IPS) The trial of Dr Cyrus Elahi, the deputy leader of the Derafsh Kaviani started Monday in a Paris criminal court, two days only after another similar stance had sentenced Mr. Ahmad Jeyhooni, an Iranian citizen living in Germany to 17 years jail for "association in the murder" of Dr. Reza Mazlooman, another opponent of the Islamic Republic.
Dr. Elahi was shot dead in his apartment in Paris on 23 October 1990.
Though the real murderer is at large, but all eyes during the first session of the trial were turned to Mr. Mojtaba Mash-hadi, summoned to the court as both witness and source of information.
In fact, the 43 years-old Mr. Mash-hadi, now a French citizen, married to a French woman and running a garage and a flower shop, was alleged to have given the Iranian secret service information about the daily routine of Cyrus Elahi.
Mash-hadi was arrested in 1993 in connection with the murder and was held in custody while investigations continued, but did not face trial.
In 1996, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years' in prison, this time on charges of "criminal collusion in a terrorist enterprise". That trial did not include the 1993 allegations of complicity to murder.
Mr. Mash-hadi was released days before the official visit of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Paris on 27 October 1999.
Named by associates as an agent of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, Mr. Mashh-hadi was reported to have made frequent visits to Tehran, where he would meet with high-ranking Iranian agents and even Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, the notorious Intelligence Minister as well as reporting directly to a special Committee supervising the elimination of Iranian dissidents, chaired by Ayatollah Ali Khamenehe'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the then President.
It was interesting to note that the man who brought most of the charges against Mr. mash-hadi, a certain Hoseyn Yazdan-setah, also jailed in the same case, was found dead in a hotel in Paris soon after his release from prison.
Before his death, Mr. Yazdan-setah had revealed the existence of a list, prepared by the "Terror Committee", containing the names of 12 Iranian leading dissidents to be eliminated in Europe.
The existence of this Committee was confirmed by Mr. Banisadr.
Islamic Iran's first president Abolhasan Banisadr, Mr. Dariush Homayoon, a former Information Minister under the Shah and the leader of a pro-Monarchist organisation, Dr. Manoochehr Ganji, the leader of the US-funded, Paris-based "Derafsh Kaviani", Mr. Shoja'eddin Shafa, a prominent Iranian historian, researcher, writer and polemist and Princess Asharaf Pahlavi were among come of the personalities to be assassinated.
The murder of Dr Elahi had exactly the same trade-mark as that of Dr. Mazlooman, the one the court in the case of Mr. Jayhooni described as the "Trojan Horse", meaning the killer being introduced by a friend who, in fact, is no one else but an agent of the Iranian secret services who had won the friendship and the trust of the victim.
Besides Mr. Ganji and Mr. Banisadr who were present at the trial, the court received a letter from Mr. Farhad Mesbahi, alias "Witness C" who helped the Berlin High Court to rule in April 1997 that "all the highest ranking clerical leaders of the Islamic Republic, including Ayatollah Khamenehe'i and Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani are directly responsible for the assassination of Iranian dissidents abroad.
Like in the trial of Mr. Jayhooni, besides the family of Dr. Elahi and the Derafsh Kaviani organisation, two French groups, the SOS-Attentats and particularly the Reporters Without Borders are also present as complainants.
Asking 30 years for Mr. Jayhooni, a Prosecutor had warned the Islamic Republic that France can no more tolerate political assassination on its soil.
posted June 28, 2001 09:29
Witness told the court Iran's clerical leader ordered killing of journalists
By Iraj Fatemi and other reports
PARIS 27 June (IPS) A witness at the trial of the murder of Dr. Curys Elahi exploded a bombshell in the courtroom when he disclosed Tuesday that agents of the Information (Intelligence Ministry), including himself, were instructed by the Islamic Republic to kill at least two dissident journalists in London.
Mr. Ali Qorbanifar, the brother of Manoochehr, an arms dealer who played a leading role in the "Irangate" scandal revealed that in association with Mr. Farhad Mesbahi, a high-ranking agent of the Intelligence Ministry, he had infiltrated a team of Lebanese and Algerian trained terrorist to London to murder Dr. Alireza Noorizadeh, an investigative journalist and Mr. Hadi Khorsandi, an acclaimed satirist, both opposed to the present Iranian theocratic regime.
"But in the course of event, Mr. Mesbahi changed his mind and revealed the name of the terrorist to the British authorities who arrested the team", he further said.
Mr. Mesbahi became famous as "Witness C" during the trial in Berlin of Iranian and Lebanese terrorists who had killed four leading members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in a restaurant named "Mykonos" - hence the name of the trial-in 1992, when he revealed that all the assassination of Iranian dissidents inside and outside the country are decided by Ayatollah Ali Khamenehe'i, the leader of the regime and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, then president, both chairing an organisation named "Terror Committee".
Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Republic's first elected president who appeared at the Mykonos trial and now appears as witness in the Paris criminal court confirmed the existence of the Terror Committee.
In its ruling delivered on April 1997, the Berlin High Court said "all the clerical leaders of the Islamic Republic were personally involved in the assassination of Iranian dissidents opposed to their regime".
Mr. Qorbanifar said he new Mr. Mojtaba Mashadi, reported to be working closely with Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, the notorious Intelligence Minister, believed to be behind the murder of hundreds of Iranian intellectuals and politicians, and would report to the Terror Committee on the situation of Iranian opponents in France.
Mr. Mashadi, now a Frenchman, appeared in the court as a free witness. He had been sentenced twice to three years imprisonment, in 1993 and 1996, charged of "association" in the assassination of Dr. Curys Elahi, an American citizen of Iranian extract who served as deputy leader of the Paris-based, US funded "Derafsh Kaviani" organisation.
Unkown killer, introduced to his flat by Mr. Mashadi, shot him dead in his apartment in Paris on 23 October 1990.
Mr. Mashadi told the court indirectly that he was a double agent, as, in his words, all his contacts with the Iranian authorities and trips to Iran were known to the French counter-espionage agency.
Mr. Qorbaifar, who used to have a carpet shop in Paris, also made same claims, adding that he knew both Mr. Mashadi and Mr. Mesbahi, the three working for the Iranian secret services as early as 1986.
Mr. Mesbahi, according to Mr. Qorbanifar, left France after a series of explosions that rocked the French capital. Another Iranian named Vahid Gorji, a so-called interpreter at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, believed to be the mastermind of the explosions, was allowed to leave France
The release of Mr. Gorji, who was hiding in the Iranian Embassy, triggered the suicide of a young judge investigating the case and outraged the French press and society, who accused the French justice of cowardice and the then France's conservative government of yielding to blackmail.
But speaking to the Persian service of Radio France Internationale, Mr. Qorbanifar said his contacts with the Iranian secret services were via Mr. Mesbahi and Mashadi.
He said he believed the order to assassinate Mr. Noorizadeh and Mr. Khorsandi were handed by Mr. Fallahian and approved by Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani.
posted June 28, 2001 09:31
Newspaper comments on former president testifying in French court
BBC Monitoring Service
Text of commentary in English by Tehran Times web site on 27 June
A fugitive Iranian now living in Paris, Abolhasan Bani-Sadr, is scheduled to appear in a Paris court to testify against the Islamic Republic, it was reported on Tuesday [26 June].
We are sure no-one in Iran was surprised by this news, as Bani-Sadr is known to be a traitor, and he is the most likely person to testify against Iran, one analyst commented while talking to the Tehran Times.
A French court is investigating the case of Mojtaba Mashhadi, who is accused of killing anti-Iranian activist Sirus Elahi in 1980 in Paris. The prosecutor claims that Iran was behind the murder.
Elahi was an American of Iranian origin who was killed mysteriously during Bani-Sadr's presidency in Iran. Iranian intelligence services were blamed for the murder by the French prosecutor.
Elahi was a member of the Flag of Freedom organization of Iran and advocated a secular parliamentary system of government.
Mashhadi had previously been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a Paris court for harassing Iranian counterrevolutionaries in France. According to the prosecutor, Mashhadi was an accomplice in the murder and had contact with terrorist organizations.
Bani-Sadr fled the country in 1981, and since then he has been cooperating with the infamous intelligence service of the United States, the CIA. He still receives money from the CIA. Informed sources have enough witnesses to prove that the CIA was behind the 1980 murder in order to discredit Iran.
The prospect of Bani-Sadr appearing on the witness stand reminds one of the popular Iranian saying: "When fox was asked to provide a witness, it pointed to its own tail!"
In other words, when a culprit is asked to bring someone to give testimony to his innocence, he referred to an accomplice.
Last year, the CIA, with the collaboration of the US television network CBS, prepared a film in which Baghdad-based MKO [Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization] terrorists (monafeqin [hypocrites, term used to refer to members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization]) presented anti-Iranian propaganda which was based on sheer lies.
The fact is that Iran's doors are open and nothing is secret. Elahi was one of many counterrevolutionaries who, through the support of the CIA and other anti-Iranian organizations, are active abroad. They are all dreaming that a US puppet regime like that of the despotic Shah [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] may return to Iran through the assistance of the CIA. Iran had no reason at all to kill Elahi.
posted June 28, 2001 09:32
Iran says Iraqi based MKO fighters killed
TEHRAN, June 27 (AFP) - Intelligence services killed the members of several teams belonging to the armed opposition People's Mujahadeen, state radio said Wednesday. The report was denied as "lies" by the Iraq-based group in a statement sent to AFP in Nicosia. The radio quoted a statement from the intelligence ministry which did not say how many Mujahadeen units had been broken up or the number of those killed.
The statement said they had entered the country to disrupt the presidential elections, which took place on June 8, by carrying out bomb attacks in the provinces.
The Mujahadeen, which claims to have carried out 96 operations in Iran since March, the latest being four in Tehran Monday night, said the regime was trying to cover up the blows the group had inflicted.
posted June 29, 2001 10:00
Confusion and contradictions marked Third session of Dr. Elahi's court
By Iraj Fatemi
PARIS 28 June (IPS) The third session of the trial of the murder of an Iranian dissident in a Paris criminal court had all the trademarks of a good Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, where an alleged double agent denies adamantly any connection with either Iranian and French secret and security services while, at the same time, a high-ranking French counter-espionage Superintendent confirms the man was their informant.
In the one hand, the Court is told that the French Counter-espionage agency DST had most of the Iranian terrorist operating in France under control, yet, on the other hand, it admit that at least five prominent political opponents had been killed in cold blood at their residences or in Paris streets.
Amid a total confusion and contradictory statements, one learns that while the French police is informed "before hand" about the Iranian dissidents to be killed by Iranian hit squads, yet all the victims are killed one after another.
The hearing started with Mr. Mojtaba Mashadi, now a French citizen alleged to be agent of the Iranian Information (Intelligence) Ministry denying all charges.
Appearing at the Court Wednesday as a witness, Mr. Mashadi, who had served a three years term on charges of "association in the assassination" of Dr. Cyrus Elahi, rejects from the outset all accusations against him and denies forcefully that he had worked for Iranian secret services and collaborated with the French Counter-espionage, DST.
Deputy leader of "Derafsh Kaviani" organisation, a Paris-based, American funded group fighting the Islamic Republic, Dr. Elahi, an American citizen of Iranian extract was assassinated in his apartment on 23 October 1990 by an unidentified killer allegedly introduced to his house by Mr. Mashadi.
After a break that lasts for 45 minutes, the Court resumes the hearing with a thorough cross-examination of a DST Superintendent identified as Mr. Jean Ghirou, who begin his deposition with a brief history of the Islamic Republic’s terrorist activities, "aimed at eliminating physically" all the political and ideological opponents of the new regime installed after the Islamic revolution of 1979, "a process that accelerated under Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian" (a former Intelligence Minister), he pointed out.
Shahriar Shafiq, the son of the Shah’s twin sister Princess Ashraf, General Qolamali Oveisi, Dr. Abdolrahman Boroomand, Dr. Cyrus Elahi, Dr. Shahpoor Bakhtiar, the Shah’s last Prime Minister, Dr. Reza Mazlooman, Dr. Abdolrahman Qasemloo, General secretary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Dr. Qasem Sharafkandi and three of his colleagues, Freydoon Farrokhzad, a successful showman, Mr. Rajavi, the brother of the present leader of the Baghdad-based Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation and some other influential political and intellectual opponents are murdered by the regime’s implacable terror machine.
The pattern in all the murders is the same, as Islamic Republic’s secret services have penetrated opposition groups thanks to numerous spies "guided and directed by well trained and experienced agents", the DST man observes.
"The first indication that came to out attention was a meeting held at the Paris Orly airport on 16 November 1989 with the participation of Mr. Ali Ahani, the Islamic Republic’s Ambassador to France (now a Deputy Foreign Minister for American and European Affairs), Mr. Ali Angizi, Director of Iran Air office in Paris, Mr. Ali Qorbanifar and a a fourth person we could not identify and designated under the nickname of Beardy", Mr. Ghirou said.
Having established close contacts with Mr. Gorbanifar (the brother of Manoochehr, an arms dealer who played an important role in the "Irangate" scandal), the DST learns that Mr. Mojtaba Mashadi had been instructed by Tehran to assassinate Dr. Manoochehr Ganji, the leader of Derafsh Kaviani.
"At about the same time, we are informed that three other Iranian opponents are also on the Islamic Republic’s hit list, but despite all efforts, French secret services and counter-intelligence agencies, due probably to mistakes, fail to identify the men, one of them might have been Dr. Elahi", the Superintendent continued.
The President – What do you know about Mr. Mashadi?
Superintendent – As far as we knew, he had met personally Mr. Fallahian at the end of 1989 in Tehran. From that time, one can consider him as someone who was responsible for preparing for the operations, in charge of the logistics and paving the way for the killers.
Elahi was the first victim that, unfortunately, our services could not prevent the assassination to happen, as he did not had an important position among the opponents, he added, despite the fact that the victim was the number two man in the Derafsh Kaviani, then one of the most active anti-Islamic Republic groups.
In the first meeting with Mashadi, he denied having any contact with Iranian intelligence services. But in the second and third confrontation, he rescinds, confesses to his close collaboration with the Intelligence Ministry and tells us that on instructions from the Ministry, he was gathering information on the whereabouts of Mr. Shoja’eddin Shafa (a prolific writer, historian, researcher and translator) and Mr. Cyrus Elahi. Mr. Ganji was added to the list from July 1989.
As contacts with Mr. Mashadi would continue without bearing any positive results, in order to prevent the murder of the three men on the hit list and of whom we had no clue, it was decided to neutralise him after the assassination of Dr. Elahi.
Meanwhile, Dr. Reza Mazlooman was killed by agents that had come from Germany.
(Last week, a Paris criminal court sentenced Mr. Ahmad Jayhooni, an Iranian living in Germany to 17 years imprisonment on charges of association in the murder of Dr. Mazlooman).
The President – Since 1989, you knew Mr. Mashadi and were in constant contact with him. How come that he was able to kill Mr. Elahi in 1990?
Superintendent – We probably made some mistakes. I consider mistakes as possible reason. (But he would not emphasises)
The president charges again, refers to the meeting in Orly Airport and asks to explain why the DST and other relevant agencies could not trace Islamic Republic’s agents?
Superintendent – As I said before, we probably were wrong on some points.
The President – As of 1989, Ali Qorbanifar had informed French intelligence agencies that Mashadi is an agent of the Islamic Republic..
Superintendent – We did not know Dr. Cyrus Elahi well enough and did not have proper contacts with Mr. Ganji’s organisation. Therefore, our goal was to establish the identities of possible victims first and identify the murderers..
The President – Mr. Superintendent, why you did not act when Mashadi informed you about the task he had been ordered to perform?
Superintendent – Mashadi would talk too much. Most of out informers were drug smugglers. In my personal opinion, the Islamic Republic employs drug smugglers as sources of information and intelligence on the opponents.
The President – With all the contacts and connections you had, how is that you could not prevent the killings? Can’t, one deduct that you wouldn’t use your information but only after assassinations?
Superintendent – I can’t answer all your questions. I’m an intelligence officer with heavy responsibilities. There are shadows I can’t talk about.
The hearings are expected to last until Friday, with other witnesses, particularly Dr. Ganji, Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Iran’s first president and Abolqasem Farhad Mesbahi, alias "Witness C" of the Berlin’s "Mykonos" Court give evidences.
posted June 30, 2001 14:01
Islamic republic's Terror machine explained to the Paris court
By Iraj Fatemi
PARIS 29 June (IPS) The Islamic Republic came under fire Thursday in the Paris criminal court that investigates the assassination of Dr. Cyrus Elahi, the deputy leader of Derafsh Kaviani, killed in Paris on October 1990, by unknown terrorists.
Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Republic's first president explained to the Court the structure and the functioning of the regime's terror machine and reiterated that the physical elimination of the opponents is decided jointly by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, his right hand man.
According to Mr. Banisadr, who was deposed in 1981 by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and fled to Paris, the list of the dissidents to be killed is prepared by a committee formed by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the secretary of the leader-appointed Council of Guardians, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member of the same Council and the former boss of the Judiciary and Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, a hawkish theoretician who is staunchly opposed to the reforms process.
Mr. Banisadr said various foundations like the Deprived Foundation provides the sums necessary for terrorist operations.
A lawyer for Mr. Mashadi jolted the court when, interrupting Mr. Banisadr, he told him to "have in mind what happened to Mr. Bakhtiar", a reference to the Shah's last Prime Minister who was killed in his residence despite heavy police protection.
But he was ordered to silence by the court's president.
Dr. Manoochehr Ganji, the leader of the Paris-based, US funded "Derafsh Kaviani" regretted that Europe continue to deal with a regime guilty of the murder of more than hundred Iranian dissidents abroad.
"Out of all these cases, four only were investigated in Germany and in France, Mr. Ganji pointed out, adding that the passive and complacent attitude of Europe would certainly encourage the Iranian terrorists.
Mr. Kenneth R. Timmerman, a journalist specialising on the Middle East who runs the Foundation for Iranian Democracy in Washington said state terrorism is an integral part of the Iranian Islamic system, a regime that "lives and breaths on crisis and uses terrorism to blackmail other states".
The trial is expected to end today, Friday.
All times are PT (US)
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