پنجشنبه ۳۰ شهریور ۱۳۹۶ تهران ۱۳:۳۷
HUMAN RIGHTS: UN Observers Blast Judiciary’s Handling of Slain Journalist’s Case
UN human rights experts expressed “profound concern” in a statement on Tuesday, criticizing the judiciary’s handling of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi’s death in custody trial, in which an intelligence agent was acquitted after an abruptly ended two-day trial. July 27, 2004 - “Many reports indicate that the proceedings did not meet international standards of fair trial because key evidence that might have incriminated judiciary officials, the prosecutor's office as well as the intelligence ministry were ignored by the court,” UN specialists in free speech, torture and independent judges said Tuesday in a statement condemning the judiciary for its handling of the death in custody trial of an intelligence ministry agent in the murder of Canadian Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.
Iranian authorities failed to ensure an open trial and the independent functioning of the judiciary, the statement said.
A criminal court in Tehran last week acquitted Mohammad-Reza Aqdam-Ahmadi for lack of sufficient evidence. The judge abruptly ended the trial after two days, after victim family lawyers and defendant’s lawyer said the defendant was only a scapegoat protecting higher officials.
The statement noted that journalists and other foreign observers were barred from full access to the courtroom after the second day of the trial.
The experts said they feared the Islamic authorities "are favoring a climate of impunity for law enforcement officials and setting the ground for the recurrence of similar human rights violations in the future.”
The authors of the UN statement expressed “their profound concern regarding the unanswered questions which have resulted from the acquittal.”
During the trial, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, who heads victim family’s legal team, said she has heard testimony that judiciary official Mohammad Bakhshi, not the secret agent, inflicted the fatal blow to Kazemi’s head. The judiciary has already cleared Bakhshi of any wrongdoing in its investigation.
Ebadi rejected the court proceedings as flawed and threatened to take the matter to international organizations if the appeals court and other legal stages fail to carry out justice.
Zahra Kazemi died on July 10, 2003, from brain hemorrhage as a result of blows to her head during interrogation at the Evin prison, where she had been taken for photographing prisoners’ relatives gathered outside.
Meanwhile, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said the judiciary had always used and will continue to use the intelligence ministry’s help in investigating cases. His comments were a response to yesterday’s offer of help by cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh who said the intelligence ministry was ready to help judiciary find Zahra Kazemi’s killer.