A member of victim family’s legal team in Zahra Kazemi’s death in custody trial tells Radio Farda that the lawyers walked out of the court to protest against the judge’s abrupt decision to end the proceedings. The trial of an intelligence ministry agent for killing the Canadian-Iranian journalist may result in conviction of the wrong man for Kazemi’s murder. July 18, 2004 - “I had predicted yesterday, on the first day of the hearings, that the judge will end the proceedings on the next day, and he did, but when I said that in court yesterday, the judge said I was prejudiced,” member of the Kazemi family’s legal team Mohammad-Seifzadeh tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Siavash Ardalan
“Our presence in the courtroom did not mean that we had accepted the indictment, which has hundreds of problems,” he adds. “We were there for the purpose of the discovery of facts, and to make sure that the rights of our clients were being protected,” he adds.
He says the judiciary would inevitably return the case to court, “due to the scores of crimes that have been committed during the investigation and prosecution of the case.”
He also protests against what he calls the court’s discrimination between the two sets of lawyers. The Kazemi’s legal team had been only given a copy of the indictment, but the lawyers of the intelligence ministry agent charged with killing Kazemi had access to the entire case file, including many secret documents, and transcripts of telephone wiretaps.
But Seifzadaeh says access to more documents did not change the other lawyers’ defense: “They said the same things that we had said.”
Both sets of lawyers argued in court that the accused was the wrong man, and faulted the investigation for not focusing on high-level judiciary officials. However, he adds, if the judiciary convicts the wrong man, the intelligence ministry will not protest. “They respect certain frameworks within the regime,” he adds. “The intelligence ministry had kept secret many things about this case, about which we learned today,” he says.
A presidential panel said last November that Zahra Kazemi died on July 10, 2003, of a blow to her head during interrogation at the Evin prison, where she had been taken for photographing prisoners’ families outside.