The Supreme Leader reappointed Ayatollah Shahroudi for another five-year term as the chief of the Islamic Republic judiciary. Lawyer Ahmad Bashiri tells Radio Farda that the appointment was not based the judiciary’s chief’s expertise or programs, since in his five years as the chief, the judiciary has not made any progress. August 14, 2004 - By reappointing his close associate and aide Iraqi-born Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi as the judiciary chief for another five year, the Supreme Leader in a bid to continue his grip on the country’s sensitive. “The judiciary did not make any positive advance in the past five years under Ayatollah Hashemi-Shahroudi, not did it advance during the five years before that when Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi was chief,” Tehran-based lawyer and human rights activist Ahmad Bashiri, who had served for decades as a judge, tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Ali Sajjadi. “The little reforms he attempted, such as resuming the local arbitration councils and starting specialized courts to deal with business disputes, have failed to bring any encouraging results,” he adds. “I dare say, the judiciary has become more stringent than it was under Mr. Yazdi, particularly in dealing with journalists,” he adds. “Under Mr. Yazdi, journalists could write more freely, now, despite the nominal existence of press freedoms, there is no journalist who would dare to print what is on his mind, and it appears that the judiciary is not wiling to back out from the hard-line position it has taken during the past five years,” Bashiri says. “Under Yazdi, and now under Shahroudi, the judiciary has given in to politics, and has strayed from the principles of neutrality,” he adds.