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Trial Date Set for Mohammad Seifzadeh

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Mohammad_SeifzadehThe International Campaign for Human Rights - Officials have set the court date for the third charge against prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh to 12 March, his wife Fatemeh Golzar told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“According to a notice I received today (15 February), a trial court related to his charges of ‘writing a letter to Mohammad Khatami,’ ‘writing several articles,’ and ‘signing group statements inside the prison,’ has been rescheduled and it will take place on 12 March at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.  But I don’t know yet whether Mr. Seifzadeh would participate in the court, or he would ask me not to attend it like the previous court session,” said Fatemeh Golzar, Mohammad Seifzadeh’s wife and lawyer.

In April 2011, security forces arrested Seifzadeh in Orumiyeh on the charge of “illegally exiting the country.” After two months of interrogations inside Orumiyeh Detention Center, authorities transferred him to Tehran’s Evin Prison. During his detention, Seifzadeh wrote a letter to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. He also wrote two critical articles about “granting pardon under the Iranian law,” and “definition of political crimes,” and he signed several group statements by prisoners. Authorities then charged him with “collusion and assembly against national security” based on these activities.

Golzar told the Campaign that Seifzadeh refused to attend his previous court session on 11 January 2012, stating the Revolutionary Court is unqualified to review his case. “He did not appear in court and did not authorize me to attend as his lawyer, either, as he did not believe the court to be qualified to review his charges. His only request was that just before the session started, I submit his defense bill to the judge. I don’t know what his decision about the rescheduled court session. I will inform him of this when I go to our regular visitation next Monday.

In October 2010, authorities sentenced Mohammad Seifzadeh to nine years in prison and a ten-year ban on legal practice on the charge of “acting against national security by co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” In July 2011, an appeals court reduced this sentence to two years in prison. The other two cases against Seifzadeh, for “illegal exit from the country” and “collusion and assembly against national security” are currently in progress. Seifzadeh’s family has stated that authorities falsely accused him of attempting to illegally leave Iran; at the time, he was not even near the border and was = traveling for a research project

In his letter to Khatami, Seifzadeh wrote, “If we had had a good Judiciary in the old [Shah’s] regime, the revolution would not have happened, as revolutions happen when the disenfranchised people cannot find an organization that would redeem their rights. But, as a judge and attorney with long experience, I have to be fair and say that the Judiciary [under the Shah] was not so bad.”