Principlist MP grilled by journalist about jailhouse visit
26 Aug 2009 15:32
Tabnak | August 24, 2009
Farhad Tajari, the spokesman for the Majlis Judicial Commission Farhad, was one of two lawmakers allowed to visit Mostafa Tajzadeh. This is an interview about the visit, which appeared in the daily newspaper, Etemad-e Melli.
Q: They say that you cannot or are not allowed to see the detainees.
Tajari: No this is incorrect.
Q: In your recent meetings with Tajzadeh, Abtahi, Atrianfar, why was it that the reformist lawmakers left and then you were allowed to see them?
Tajari: It was not like that. Mr. Alikhani and the rest of the lawmakers had already left for half an hour when Judge [Saeed] Mortazavi called and said he is on his way and that he is not sure whether he can coordinate for us to visit them.
Q: Why didn't you contact Alikhani and the rest of the lawmakers after that?
Tajari: When Mr. Mortazavi got there it coincided with the call for prayer and he said let's go see Abtahi.
Q: But wasn't there time [to contact the other lawmakers] after prayer and even before?
Tajari: No, Mr. Alikhani said he had no desire to see a burnt agent.
Q: Let's say Mr. Alkhani didn't wish to see Abtahi but he would have wanted to see Tajzadeh. Didn't you think that they might not believe what you say?
Tajari: So what if they don't [believe me]. We are not here to say things to please others.
Q: But you came here to ease the minds of the public...
Tajari: Yes, this is one of our responsibilities. Rumors were running wild that Tajzadeh was dead, that he has had a concussion and was unable to talk. The least we could do was to go to prison and prepare for him to
contact his family.
Q: A phone call is very different from a meeting in person.
Tajari: Well this is the judge's decision. We can't tell the judge what to do.
Q: Was Mr. Tajzadeh in good physical condition?
Tajari: Very good.
Q: You first met with Abtahi and then Atrianfar; how long did these meetings last?
Tajari: Each one was over an hour.
Q: You mean to say you spoke with these two for three hours?
Tajari: No, we spoke for over two hours with these two and for half an hour with Tajzadeh.
Q: You mean to say that it took two hours before you went to see Tajzadeh?
Tajari: No, after meeting Mr. Abtahi in his cell, we went and saw Tajzadeh and then we went to Atrianfar's cell.
Q: So you mean you were in Abtahi's cell for an hour and a half? Mr. Boroujerdi says you did not meet Tajzadeh in his cell and the meeting took place in a room. This is why he told some of the lawmakers that the assumption was that while you were with Abtahi, Tajzadeh was brought to Evin from another location.
Tajari: What kind of a question is this? Time passed and I don't remember. By the way, didn't his family say that the Evin number came up [on the caller ID]? You are asking this so I say something and you quote me another way.
Q: Mr. Boroujerdi said this and the lawmakers want to know why you did not meet Tajzadeh like the other two in his prison cell?
Tajari: Well now, this is not an explanation I deem necessary to offer you.
Q: Boroujerdi said Tajzadeh's interrogators have been changed five times.
Tajari: Every interrogator has his own expertise. It's not like they say, this interrogator failed so it's the next one's turn.
Q: What are his charges that he needs five different interrogation techniques [to be used on him]?
Tajari: This is a judicial discussion. I can only say that Tajzadeh has not suffered any physical pressures.
Q: Why aren't efforts being made to alleviate public concern? For example, why aren't impartial figures allowed to visit Tajzadeh, Nabavi, Zeydabadi, Arab-Sorkhi, Saharkheiz , Moemeni, and ...?
Tajari: The judicial authority says he will not allow it because some visits can help convey information that will influence the confessions.
Q: What kind of reasoning is this? Aren't the visits supervised?
Tajari: No, of course they may be supervised but this is up to them [judicial authorities] to decide .
Q: What about the media?
Tajari: No country or healthy governing structure will allow its doors to be this wide open. Temporary incarceration is temporary incarceration and no political current can be allowed to influence judicial decisions.
Q: You say that the judicial authorities say that if reformists go [visit the detainees] they will take them messages. The media should not go either. So what are we to do?
Tajari: We wanted certain groups to [be allowed to] visit them but they say this is not a circus to have people come and go [at whim]. We [authorities] are conducting an investigation , and these visits are not acceptable even for a Principlist like me.
Q: You mean to say that they don't even consider you an insider?
Tajari: No, these coming and goings could give certain impressions to the detainees and guide the inspectors on a different path.
Q: But even their lawyers are not allowed to visit them.
Tajari: Iranian law prohibits the presence of lawyers in the early stages of an investigation.