Saeed Mortazavi, Prime Suspect in the Zahra Kazemi Case
Another court session has been held to review the Canadian Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemis death. This is while lawyers representing Zahra Kazemis mother do not consider the court fit to handle the case; a court without reporters; a court whose presiding judge Saeed Mortazavi is the prime suspect in the case.
Dr. Karim Lahiji, who represents Zahra Kazemis son Stephan Hachemi, notes that reducing the crime from quasi - intentional to non - intentional manslaughter and handling it at a court supervised by the prime suspect (Saeed Mortazavi), contradicts all laws, including those of the Islamic Republic.
He adds that the nature of a crime determines which court handles the case. Non - intentional manslaughter means there was no intention of killing, but the situation and conditions led to the murder. But Zahra Kazemis case does not fall into this category, as proven by investigations conducted by representatives of both the legislative and executive branches of the Islamic Republic. Zahra Kazemi was arrested and detained illegally. During detention, she was beaten and not taken to the hospital in time. The beatings led to her death. This cannot be classified as non - intentional manslaughter. This is an act of murder, and the punishment for this crime is different, so is the court that qualifies to handle it. For this reason, lawyers representing Zahra Kazemis mother have objected to the courts qualification from day one.
Lahiji further remarks, Its not just the question of maltreatment and torture. There are numerous charges involved. Zahra Kazemi was illegally remanded in custody upon orders of Judge Saeed Mortazavi. She was maltreated and tortured. The illegal detention continued. Mortazavi, along with his colleagues, including his deputy Arjomandi, interrogated Kazemi in Evin Prison. Mohammad Bakhshi, director of Evin Prison Security, who works directly under Mortazavi, deals the first blows to Kazemi. These were actually the devastating blows that led to the ensuing bleeding. As eyewitnesses reported, instead of taking her to the hospital, they put her in a car and took her to solitary confinement in Evin Prison, even though she could hardly walk. From 10 pm until 2 am, Mortazavi and Arjomandi interrogated her, while she obviously couldnt even answer (due to her physical conditions).
Lahiji speaks of a judicial mix - up in which the prosecutor becomes the complainant, as evidently manifest in the case of Zahra Kazemi. That day, the Mortazavi Bakhshi team were on alert because of the anniversary of July 9th (huge student protests four years before). As soon as Mortazavi hears about the arrest of a foreign correspondent in front of Evin Prison, he thinks of espionage, especially as Kazemi had traveled to Iraq before arriving in Iran. Mortazavi even tries to sue Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidances Director General for Foreign Press Khoshvaqt for giving work permit to a spy. He, however, fails in this attempt as Khoshvaqt is close to the Iranian Leader. He, therefore, subjects Kazemi to all the pressure. At this point, Mortazavi no longer acts like a prosecutor who orders investigation into a crime. He rather turns into someone who is preparing a criminal file against Kazemi and in turn feels free to treat her in whatever way he wants. Even when Ministry of Information officials reject the espionage charge leveled against Kazemi, Mortazavi does not let go. He keeps on pressuring the half-dead Kazemi who was loudly complaining of a headache and refrains from sending her to the hospital.
All these, step by step drew Kazemi closer to death. As such, before anything else, the type of death should be determined, so that, on its basis, a qualified court could see to the case. But, unfortunately, this (rightful demand) has been overlooked.
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