Interrogators told my (husband) the judge is with them
The following is an interview with Fatemeh Eftekhari, the wife of Saeed Malekpour, by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Malekpour was arrested on October 5, 2009 for designing a web program that was eventually used [by someone else not connected to or affiliated with Malekpour) to post pornographic material. Malekpour has been confined in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for 19 months. He has steadfastly maintained that he had no knowledge of the website’s content as well as having no interaction with the operators. Furthermore, he states that he generically designed the program like the many others he has made. A permanent resident of Canada, Malekpour is a metallurgical engineering graduate from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. He was arrested during a visit to Iran and now faces an intricate web of accusations against him and possibly many years in prison.
CHRR- What information do you have on the case of your husband Saeed Malekpour and the accusations made against him?
FE- The case against my husband is apparently one of national security. Yet, we have never been active in political groups or had any history of membership in a party. The charges brought against him include taking action against national security by operating pornographic websites, agitation against the regime, contact with foreign entities, insulting the sanctity of Islam, and insulting the Supreme Leader and President. These allegations are very vague and have been constantly denied by my husband in court. Unfortunately, Saeed is not completely aware of the details of the accusations made against him since upon his arrest he was coerced into signing several blank sheets of paper. During the 17 months that the authorities were carrying out the investigation they filled in the sheets however they deemed fit and created the allegations that my husband is now denying.
CHRR- How many court sessions have been held so far? Was the lawyer present at the trial and has he been able to read the relevant files for the case?
FE: To date there have been two court sessions and the judge presiding over the case, Judge Moghiseh, has informed us that there will be a third court date later this month.
The first session was on March 16th. Our lawyer was originally informed that the trial would not go ahead on that day. On the morning of March 16 my husband’s friend from Evin Prison’s Section 350 called my sister-in law and told her that Saeed will be taken before the Revolutionary Court for his ‘crimes’. Unfortunately, the lawyer was not ready to attend court that day and was away on a trip. As such, the trial began without a lawyer present for my husband. Though Saeed’s lawyer has been allowed to look through the files pertaining to the case, he has not been allowed to meet him. If my husband or his lawyer cannot analyze the details of the case and the evidence brought against him, how can this trial be deemed as fair? How can a lawyer defend his client properly if they do not even know what they are accusing him of?
CHRR- How has Mr. Malekpour’s rights been infringed upon thus far?
FE- My husband has been in temporary arrest for 19 months now and the conditions surrounding his arrest are very obscure. It seems that the judiciary worries little about the unreasonable amount of time Saeed has been in temporary custody. They show little regard for the family life that has been interrupted and the profession that has been all but abandoned. An open letter was written and addressed to the judiciary by my husband detailing the misfortune that has befallen him under this supposed honest and impartial investigation. Unmistakable signs of torture scar Saeed’s body and they bear witness to the anguish he has endured. His jaws cannot function properly because of the blows and kicks that have been made to his head and face. It is not hard to notice the damage that has been caused to his brain; his sense of recognition has been severely compromised and he has had temporary paralysis on the left side of his body. My husband’s pain has been further intensified by the psychological trauma he carries, trauma which has made his hands shake uncontrollably. All this makes evident the torture he has sustained and it will not be difficult to prove if the judge orders a forensics investigation. Yet, even if attention were to be paid to the scars left on Saeed’s body, the trial would only be fair and just if the judge is impartial and his desire is to properly execute the law, not acting on the whim of the authorities.
CHRR- During this ordeal, how have your rights been abused and what problems confront you?
FE- If I were to talk about the issues I face and the abuses I have witnessed I would take up the rest of the time we have left for this interview. Unfortunately, the suffering that my family and I have faced is not unique nor is our ordeal a new one. I continuously follow domestic events in Iran and pay close attention to the letters written by family members of individuals detained after the June 12th, 2009 election as well as the interviews they have given. As I read about these families, the memory of what I have endured for the past 19 months constantly surfaces in my mind. The parallels between our case and that of other families are striking: lack of news about the condition of loved ones in detention, unaccountable actions by judicial officials, lack of any access to lawyers, constant extension of temporary detention warrants, and most difficult of all waiting tirelessly by the telephone waiting for any news on about the loved one after their interrogation. This is a very tiresome process and destroys the resolve and composure of family members.
Whenever the phone rings my heart melts and I begin to think that maybe it’s him, Saeed. Perhaps after weeks without contact, the prison authorities have allowed him to call me. It is interesting to note that when Saeed was being interrogated the authorities informed us that he had requested not to have any contact with family or friends. Other than this, they stated nothing was preventing him from contacting us. My family was not the only one to encounter this peculiar demand; the Noorizad family was also faced with the same bizarre insistence from their imprisoned loved one.
During the initial phase of Saeed’s detention my family and I repeatedly wrote to various judicial authorities. However, no response was given to us. Ultimately, I was allowed to meet my husband and it was then that the severity of his situation became apparent to me. It was after this that our family met with the head of the Department of Justice in Tehran Province, Mr. Avayi. He listened patiently to us and promised to follow up on the case. Unfortunately, when Saeed Mortazavi was the Prosecutor-General of Tehran he would not allow any of Mr. Avayi’s representatives to meet my husband nor were they permitted to inspect the prison cell he was being kept in. However, upon the insistence and effort of Mr. Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the new Prosecutor-General, the case has noticeably increased in pace.