To: His Excellency , the Chief of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran.
In protesting the unlawful action that has taken place in processing my law suit in the Revolutionary Court, I Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist, researcher, woman’s activist, address this letter to you.
At the present time, I am a resident scholar at Hague, Netherlands, a research scholar in the area of social justice, human rights, and gender studies.
While I have been in the process of writing this letter I received the news through the media that Article 48 of the criminal code was amended on June 22, 2015. According to this amendment, those charged with political activities, as well as those charged due to their beliefs and ideas, do not have the right to choose their lawyers. This amendment reminds one of the injustices done the courts of injustice of dictatorial regimes the world over. Undoubtedly, as soon as this law, passed by the whim of the ruling authorities, becomes active and ready to be executed, justice would become obsolete, though I remain firm in my belief in dialogue, civil disobedience and protest and would remain a firm believer in exposing any sort of injustice through legal venues left to us. I also need to mention that my rights in this have been violated long before this amendment was ratified.
In 2009 after the events following the much disputed election, I was threatened and harassed by the security services, including "vigilantes," up to the point that my family life was badly affected by all their intrusions. In December of the same year, once my house was raided by the security agents and police at midnight, and I was arrested for the third time and put in jail. I assumed that this was a reward for my 30 years of volunteer work and efforts to promote culture, knowledge, and communication. I was charged with "propaganda against the Islamic Republic through an interview with various websites." Unfortunately, even after I was released on bail, I still remained subject to harassment again and again. Finally, in 2010, after four years of being barred from leaving the country, (since my first arrest in 2006) with the help of my reputable lawyer, Nasrin Sotoodeh, the travel restriction was lifted and I was able to travel to Germany to visit my family and receive some medical treatment.
A month later, while still in Germany, I received summons from the Inspection Department of Branch Four of Evin Prison. However, since I was under medical treatment in Germany, following my doctor’s advise, I was not able to travel back home. Therefore, I forwarded the necessary information through my husband in Iran, and all the legal documents including my physician’s official letter, to excuse myself from coming before the Evin Inspection Office. Three months later, I received my second summons, which remained inconclusive, and the third one followed a year after, in 2012. Once more, my physicians did not allow me to interrupt my treatment and issued a written affidavit concerning my health situation and their recommendation to continue my medical treatment. The fourth summons came in July 2013, right after the presidential election, in which President Rohani elected president.
Just when the anticipation of end of the violence and terror, which had over shadowed our country for the previous eight years was to have ended, giving me a new hope and desire to return to my country live among my own compatriots and resume my social and cultural activity there again, all my hopes were shattered by bad news.
The prison Inspection Office informed my husband that if I did not go back to prison to serve out my sentence, they would hand my case to the officers of the Revolutionary Guards and everything would be out of their hands from then, on. They also mentioned that I would be arrested in any case upon entering the country. They also told him that if I do no submit to the summons, they would deliver the next summons through the Islamic Regime’s embassy in Germany. They also refused to accept the physician’s unless it was approved, signed, and sealed by the Islamic Republic’s Embassy in Germany.
I once more asked my physicians to write a letter stating I need to continue my treatments. It was certified by the highest authorities in the Byrne Chambers of Health, approved by Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy in Munich, and forwarded to the court directly by the Embassy. But although all legal processes had been followed, we still did not receive any clear response from the Evin Inspection Office. Despairing in such irresponsibility and chaos as well as by hearing news about a new round of extreme repression, particularly of people like me who had returned home for a visit or otherwise, I was left with no alternative but to plan to continue staying away and at least continue my education here.
In July 2014, I received a letter from branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court about my scheduled trial. But when the time arrived, my lawyer, Nasrin Sotoodeh, refused to be present in court since she was not allowed to have access to my file and plead to review the case if necessary. She appointed one of her colleagues to follow the case as my lawyer. However, the Revolutionary Court’s Judge, Mr. Mogheisseh, with a very confrontational approach, did not responded to her colleague clearly. Three months later, in October 2014, I was informed that a second trial was scheduled for me. This time, my lawyer, Nasrin Sotoodeh, was on strike in protest against the unlawful cancellation of her lawyer’s license, and the fact that, according to the court, she did not have the right to practice law. Still, trusting her professionalism and her fair mindedness, and her dedication to social justice, and lawfulness, I insisted on her presenting my case in this trial. Apparently, as Mr. Amir Sallar Davoodi was informed, my original case in court was considered a closed case (in an in absentia trial, without a lawyer to advocate on my behalf!) and therefore my present case was a new case, and she was not a legal advocate in it. Mr. Sallar believed that I could peacefully apply to post bail for me since the case was now closed. However, when Mr. Sallar appeared in court with power of attorney as issued by Ms. Sotoodeh to advocate my case, Judge Mogheisseh, refused to admit him to proceed and said: "I do not recognized the power of attorney issued by these trouble makers, people like Shirin Ebadi (my first lawyer when I was arrested in 2006) and Nasrin Sotoodeh. Well, this time Mr. Sallar returned to court with another power of attorney, issued by my husband, who has a full legal right to decide on behalf of my person and my property. Again Judge Mogheisseh told Mr. Sallar that power of attorney should be issued directly by me and not through the third party.
I issued a formal power of attorney to Mr. Sallar, approved by and wired through the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy in Hague to him. Two months later, on May 30, 2015, I received another letter informing me that, for the third time, another trial is scheduled. Mr. Sallar, assuming that the he was following a closed case, contacted the office of Property Registrations and Certificate of Ownership to prepare for lifting the bail. The officials inform him that court permission is required. He contacted Judge Mogheisseh, but he once again refused to communicate with him and told him that I should be present in court. He also said, "What is she worrying about? Tell her to come here, we may even acquit her of any charges." Mr. Sallar had told him that I wouldn’t be able to go there since I’m studying in the Netherlands. The judge then said, "We will therefore go ahead with a trial in absencia and inform you of the result."
Mr. Sallar did succeed in getting access to my new file. He found out that there are two new charges in it:
- 1) Propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- 2) Assembly and conspiracy.
In fact both charges refer to my activities while I have not been in the country to commit anything unlawful. Outside of country I have done what has been lawful; I have done research in the area of women and human rights, though, according to Judge Mogheisseh, my kind of activity caused more pressure from International Human Rights organizations on Islamic Republic. Mr. Sallar also found that the bail posted for my first case (which is now closed) has been transferred to the new case without informing the pledger (my husband), and without receiving his approval. Your Excellency, Chief Justice,
I hereby protest such an unjust and unlawful process on my case for the following reasons:
- 1) The court deprived me of my right to defend myself through my attorney, Mr. Amir Sallar Davoodi,
- 2) The court denied me the right to grant power of attorney through a third party who legally has the power of attorney to execute anything on my behalf.
- 3) The judge refused a new lawyer to substitute for the old one who for some reason cannot attend the court. This is quite unjustified since the case is already in process, and no trial has taken place over it yet.
- 4) Though my 2009 case in a closed case, as Judge Mogheisseh has stated, the bail put up for it has yet to be lifted.
- 5) The bail put up for the 2009 case, which is now closed, without the permission of the pledger, has been transferred to a new case. This seems like an illegal confiscation of property.
- 6) The treacherous behavior of the officials in the Office of Inspection in Evin prison (Branch 4) regarding me being under criminal prosecution, and the warnings about being arrested upon arrival in the country on the one hand and the deceptive remark by Judge Mogheisseh that "we may even acquit her of all charges" on another have been very confusing for me. Interpreting these contradicting remarks has been very disturbing.
Your Excellency, by the testimony of my physicians, such is to be considered psychological torture and defined as "white torture," which is considered a crime under international law.
As a female citizen, I demand the end of this painful process through a just supervision of my legal case.