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Case closed
The case of a murdered student

By Shahriar Zangeneh
July 27, 2001
The Iranian

On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice of the United States, Roger B. Taney, issued his infamous ruling in the case of Dred Scott v Sanford. The ruling in part stated, "[Negroes are] considered as subordinate and inferior class of being." In essence codifying that they had no rights the White man should respect.

On July 23, 2001, the judge of the third branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, Hassan Moghadass (a pseudonym), issued his ruling in the case of Islamic Republic of Iran v. Ezzatollah Ebrahim-Nejad.

What these two cases have in common is the dispossession of an entire segment of population from their civil rights and due process based on their race, in the former, and, political belief in the latter.

The late Ezzatollah Ebrahim-Nejad, was a conscripted Revolutionary Guard visiting friends at the Tehran University dormitories on the night of 18th of Teer, 1378. He was consequently murdered during the attack on the dormitories by the civilian-clothed shock troops, Basijis and security officers. His corpse shows a bullet wound through the right eye, multiple lacerations, contusions, two broken fingers, stab wounds to the left thigh, and metal chain marks on the upper torso.

The text of the ruling by Judge Hassan Moghadass, as reported by Islamic Student News Agency is as follows: "Mr. Ezzatollah Ebrahim-Nejad, son of Es-haq, was charged with activity against the internal security by participating in an illegal march, resulting in a disturbance and pronunciation of slogans against the security forces and stone throwing." The learned judge further stated: "Due to the accused being deceased, the case has been ordered to be closed."

On the question of the perpetrator(s) of his murder, the judge opined that since "there were hundreds of rounds fired by the security forces on that night, it is impossible to pin the blame for the suspicious firing on a single individual."

It should be noted that the bullet was not removed from the skull of the victim, albeit being "suspicious". The victim was buried by his family in a simple ceremony in his home town of Khorramabad, along with the "suspicious" bullet -- the most important evidence in any credible forensic investigation.

It should also be noted that the day before yesterday, President Khatami, during his praise for the Basijis for a job well done, said, "Not a single bullet was fired during the dormitory disturbances." As for the five suspects who were identified by eyewitnesses and captured on video tape, they were not even questioned, let alone charged.

The custom of victimizing the victims is nothing new in IRI. One has to only look at the recent mass arrest of ladies of ill repute in Mashhad. Upwards of 500 desperate, wretched women were put in prison for the crime of being the intended victims of a fanatic Moslem serial killer.

What makes Judge Moghadass's ruling a precedent-setting one, is the codification of this custom. It is the legal instrument for assignment of non-personage status to an entire segment of population, the "subordinate and inferior class" as Judge Taney referred to them -- the ones who are void of civil rights and due process of law.

The same Judge Moghadass, who has been presiding over other high-profile cases, was the judge in Saeed Hajjarian's attempted assassination case. In that case he did not have the leeway, due to the classification of the victim, to absolve the assassin, Saeed Assghar.

The online version of The New York Times reported this ruling, next to the news of the five-year extension of ILSA (Iran Libya Sanctions Act) by the U.S. Senate, as though to remind the readers that the IRI is an equal opportunity rough state, both at home and abroad.

Well-intentioned compatriots and others have been espousing the virtues of free market economy, membership in the World Trade Organization, and even prioritizing Iranian national interests, all the while overlooking a simple fact that they are all predicated on a judiciary that upholds the civil rights of all individuals -- regardless of race, creed or political inclinations. If not, they are all for naught.

If an Iranian citizen can not be protected from harm to his person and property by the laws of the land, the rest is academic.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Shahriar Zangeneh


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