Letter to the Head of the Article 90 Commission of the Iranian Parlament, June 2001

With greetings; following the previous two meetings, where we were invited by the Article 90 Commission with regards to the letter dated 20.12.2000 addressed to the Commission, and the request by yourself and other respected heads of commissions, we would like to point out the following major deficiencies and misconducts by the officials in charge of investigating the case.

We hope that the respected members of the judicial committees, national security and article 90 will do their utmost in finding out the root causes of these crimes against humanity, freedom of thought and the basic rights of a citizen, two and a half years after.

The explanations are listed in four categories:
1)    The body in charge of investigating the case was unqualified to do so.

  1. a)As the lawyers for the families of the victims have always stated, the subject of committing political murders is of the nature of common criminal acts and should be dealt with from the beginning to end in public courts.

To refer the dossiers to military courts which are specialist bodies authorised to deal with felonies committed by the members of the armed forces within their specialist framework has no legal validity.
The crimes committed by these Intelligence Ministry employees, referred to in these dossiers, was not in breach of their lawful duties
These agents are not endorsed by law or by their job specification to kill the citizens and even if a civil servant whether by their own will or by the order of their superiors, commits such crimes, then the said person has stepped out of his legal duties.

  1. b)From a judicial point of view if a judge realises that he is not qualified to judge a certain case, then he is legally bound to refer the case himself to another body.

Yet none of the judges who investigated this case in its earlier days, before it was sent to military courts, decided themselves that they were unqualified to deal with the matter but instead the decision was made to remove the case from them by the head of the Judiciary of the Armed Forces, or by the order of the head of the Judiciary, or the head of the Tehran Provincial Courts.
(Letters by the above ordering the transfer of the case from the public courts is included.)

To sum up, the judgement of this case by the Judiciary of the Armed Forces is unlawful and this body is unqualified for such tasks.

2)    On the technicalities and crime detection procedures

A brief examination of the dossiers clearly shows that the evidence gathering and detection procedures was not based on proper technical practices but the onus has been on conducting the investigation according to a pre-written scenario.

Since no pre-written scenario is based on the truth of what happened, if the statements by witnesses and the accused do not correspond with the truth, soon contradictions can be derived during cross-examinations and the truth will finally be revealed. In the dossiers sent to the court for this case however there is no trace of proper accepted procedures in criminal investigation.

As well as the above, the statements made by the accused do not correspond with the material finds including those found on the crime scenes and no effort has been made to explain these inconsistencies.
The roles of the investigator and the accused have been swapped and the extent of the effort made by investigation officers in hiding the truth and limiting the scope of the operation is completely evident.

In the winter of 1998 and immediately after the arrest of the accused, more comprehensive investigations were carried out; but unfortunately these investigations have been removed from the files and all the endeavours by our lawyers for the inclusion of these earlier investigations have been in vain.

Currently the only interrogations and statements which exist in the files, especially from the two main accused figures, Kazemi and Alikhani, belong to year 2000 and are in the shape of long winded single reply statements written on several pages in the style of a novel, not in the usual interrogative style.

Those who are familiar with the technical issues of such investigations will recognise such statements when the accused and the interrogator have reached an “understanding” and hence such statements lack any worthwhile credibility.

Mustafa Kazemi, in the extension of his arrest warrant on (02.07.1999) writes:
“…the orders did not come from me but from Saeed emami…”

Obviously the interpretations of this statement is that he has made comments on the role of Saeed Emami, but in the current files there is no mention of Saeed Emami and remarkably there is no trace of statements made by Kazemi prior to this date and this proves that parts of the investigation have been removed from the file.
Another example is with regards to the syringe and blood stained shirt found on the scene of the crime in the home of Forouhars.  Contradictory accounts are given by the accused and none of them reconcile with the suggested scenario.

There are around 100 pictures as well as video tapes of the crime scene available according to the acquisition receipts which were sent to the military prosecution, but these have been removed from the records.

Hence there is no way of confirming the accounts made by the accused and the actual evidence gathered from the crime scenes.

Also throughout this case, the accused have mentioned names of other individuals, who have either been heavily or partially involved with the matter, yet there has been no cross-examination of these individuals. Even when the lawyers of the families have named certain individuals and have explicitly asked for them to be brought into the witness box for cross-examination, their requests have been ignored.

3)    On the motive and diktat of the orders, the role of Saeed Emami and the complete elimination of his confessions from the files.

Without exception all the accused have declared their only motive as obeying the orders of their superiors. The position of the executive ranks and their relationship to each other up to the level of Mehrdad Alikhani also confirms this. But once the hierarchy of command reaches the ranks of Alikhani and Kazemi then confusion begins. In the documents sent to the courts in the year 2000 they state that they consider themselves as having had to obey the orders of Mr. Dorri Najaf-Abadi.

He on the other hand denies these allegations. What is noteworthy is that in the statements made by him in 1998 which is mentioned in the report to the Judiciary of the Armed Forces 25.01.1999 the following is recorded:

“…in the course of investigation and with prior arrangement with the Minister of Intelligence (Dori Najaf-Abadi), certain investigations were carried out from his honour. A further trip to his residence was made and previous investigations were complemented. These have been recorded on audio tape and the contents have been recorded in written format and are included in the files.”

The above has also been removed from the files. Later on in the autumn of 2000, a brief investigation of the Minister is carried out, less than three pages altogether, which were attached to the files. The bulk of which hovers around the denial of issuing the orders and the interrogator has made no effort in carrying out a proper cross-examination of the subject with no mention of statements made by the accused with regards to the Minister’s role. Based on this one way declarations and no cross-examination, the Minister was given the all clear.

The role of the above individual and the question of who actually issued the order still remain unresolved. What could help resolve this uncertainty are the confessions made by Saeed Emami which have been removed from the files.

What could possibly be the meaning of the removal of Saeed Emami’s confessions from the files when the person in charge of the investigations has named Emami as the number one accused and the main plotter of the crimes, other than a cover up of where the order came from?

To summarise, the case has been investigated without due attention to the motive and to where the orders originated from and out of a total of five political murders in the autumn of 1998, a file relating only to four murders was put together and sent to the courts. But even with all the missing documents and statements it is possible to see the line of thought.

4)    On ignoring the very substance of the case and its main crime.

These murders were not based on any personal considerations. The murderers had no previous record of friendship or animosity with the victims. Those who carried out the crimes even had to set watch on their victims in the initial stages in order to get to know the victims and their places of residence.

The murders of Forouhars, Mokhtari and Pouyandeh is the murder of opposition figures and is political. What was attacked was their ideals and the basic rights and freedoms of the subjects of a state. Thus the subject matter of the case is a plot against freedom. However this main essence of the case was ignored in the investigations and the prosecution; and the means to track down those who gave the orders was denied. Instead it was attempted to portray the murders as that of a common street crime.

It is vital that this case considering its political and social perspectives, be once again properly reviewed and after a comprehensive collection of evidence and identification of all those who executed the orders and those who gave the orders, a retrial to be held in a suitable court with the presence of a jury and the families of the victims.

Family of Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar
Family of Mohammad Mokhtari
Family of Mohammad Djafar Pooyandeh