Relatives of Jews accused of spying
Let's face it
A trial or a circus?
By Pedram Moallemian
June 16, 2000
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.