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Relatives of Jews accused of spying

Let's face it
A trial or a circus?

By Pedram Moallemian
June 16, 2000
The Iranian

The trial of thirteen Iranians as alleged spies has ended and a verdict is expected soon. Their religion or even political belief should matter very little, as they are Iranian, regardless.

No one talks about the fact that spying involves access to secret information and transferring it to a foreign government. None of the "spies" tried in the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz seemed to have had such access. One is a teenager, another is a janitor of a school, a third is a laborer at a small shoe manufacturing plant and another is a religious teacher.

One is accused of taking pictures and drawing maps of movie theaters in Shiraz during the Iran-Iraq war and sending them to Israel. Huh? Why the heck would the Israelis want such maps? Even if they did, was there not any other way of getting such "sensitive" information? With several satellites flying over Iran every day, taking pictures of some movie theater doesn't sound like a difficult task. Why endanger the life of your agents?

Some say, "But wait. Didn't they confess?" Oh yes! and I am certain the "confessions" were done without any pressure, while they were fully informed of their legal rights and with their lawyers present. Please, give all of us a break! If their "confessions" are taken at face value, then every confession made by Iranian dissidents over the last 20 years must also have been valid.

Let's face it. The Shiraz 13 are on trial because they are Jews, period. No wonder the seven co-accused Muslims who were arrested with them are tried separately. They will have to play the game with different rules. And if they are found guilty and executed, they must be buried in separate cemeteries. We couldn't let the corpses of Jews "dirty" the sacred soil of our Muslim cemeteries, could we? Shame on us.

Shame on us all and shame on our political leaders. And the media too, because for the most part, they have chosen to remain silent. Reformist newspapers complain about injustices against their own kind, such as Akbar Ganji being held in solitary confinement. But you won't read much about the "spies" because it's not politically correct and in their view, there isn't much to gain.

Standing up for what is right has always had positive results in the long run. Freedom-loving, democratic Iranians who care about justice, must demand our media, political organizations and leaders to voice strong opposition against this circus of a trial. The accused deserve presumption of innocence, an unbiased hearing where the prosecutor is not also the JUDGE, where they are guaranteed adequate and expert legal representation and where a fair jury of their true peers can decide if they are guilty or innocent.

We cannot remain silent in such a clear case of denial of justice. Somebody once said people are ruled by the kind of governments they deserve. Let us prove this is not the kind Iranians deserve.


Pedram Moallemian was the first Iranian nominated for a seat in Canada's Federal Parliament when he ran for New Democratic Party in a suburb of Toronto in 1997. A former President of the Iranian Community Association of Ontario, he currently works with many non-profit groups and is the volunteer director of CIRCLE (Canadian Iranian Centre for Liberty & Equality), an advocacy human rights organization.

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