8 August 2010
Shirin Ebadi’s interview with BBC Persian Television
Subject: Twenty years’ imprisonment for the Yárán.
Question: Mrs. Ebadi, what is your opinion about the sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment?
Answer: I was stunned; I have read their case file page by page and did not find anything proving the accusations, nor did I find any document that could prove the claims of the prosecutor.
Question: It has been two years since they were imprisoned; has there been such a case before, when the accused is imprisoned for two years, after which he is sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment?
Answer: Unfortunately, we are witnessing many extra-judicial procedures in our judicial system in Iran and this is one of them. I have to say that these cases are all against the laws that have been sanctioned by the [Constitution of the] Islamic Republic.
Question: What is their crime?
Answer: According to the bill of indictment, they have been charged with involvement in activities against the national security through espionage for the United States and Israel. As I have mentioned, I have read every page of their case file and have not found anything proving they were spies or involved in activities against the national security or any other offence that they are accused of.
Question: To sentence each one of them to twenty years’ imprisonment, the court must have based its judgement on a series of documents; have they not?
Answer: Unfortunately, it has been some time since our judicial system has practiced impartiality and it has become the puppet of the interrogators of the Ministry of Intelligence. This is why we witness incidents of people being imprisoned for a few years for only writing an article or taking a photograph. My question is if what occurred was not bad, then why was the photographer who recorded that event and sent it [to the media] imprisoned?
The same principle applies to these seven individuals; the prosecutor has accused them of being spies of the United States and Israel; however, they have not been able to prove even one incidence of it, or their involvement in activities against the national security; it is not clear what they have done that, according to the prosecutor, was considered activity against the national security.
Question: What would be the next step for them?
Answer: The next step is to protest this unjust sentence according to the law.
Question: Mrs. Ebadi, thank you for agreeing to this interview.