Monday, October 24, 2005

Appeal Hearing of Webloggers from the Holy City of Qom

Shahram Kholdi, ScanIranic:

The Lawyer of Farid Modarresi and Hossein Abdollah Pour declared on Friday that his clients are to be tried today for charges of insulting high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic (two members of the Expediency Council and the former President, Mohammad Khatami) and taking action against the national security. Earlier trials had taken place through the Qom Revolutionary Court branch in June and July, leading to convictions of up to 90-day jail terms for these webloggers. This trial is, thus, an appeal hearing.


These webloggers had earlier criticised the Expediency Council members and the previous President on their respective weblogs and their pieces published on the reformist leaning/progressive on-line daily news website called Naqshineh (link), which led to their prosecution by the Revolutionary Prosecution Office.

The Naqshineh project proved to be a very successful website and was viewed by a large number of the students of seminary schools in the Holy City of Qom. Please refer to this report by the Reporters Sans Frontiers concerning the prosecution of Naqshineh's editor-in-chief. For the best source for the reformist and/or counter establishment activism in the Holy City of Qom, please look at the writings of Mehdi Khalaji (who interestingly enough is now a member of the Washington Institute).

It would be interesting to see how the appeal hearings are conducted today as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic had earlier indicated that a more lenient approach in dealing with activist students should be adopted.


According to ILNA, Farid Moddaresi spoke to ILNA's reporter after the appeal hearing. According to Moddaresi, Qom's Public Prosecutor's Representative and an officer from Qom's Police Counter Intelligence Bureau were in attendance.

Moddaresi, who has another hearing pending at Tehran's Revolutionary Court, had mentioned that the former President Khatami had submitted a formal letter to the court of the first instance indicating that he had not complaints, and hence, did not intend to enter the case as a private plaintiff.

Moddaresi and Abdollahpour were informed by the court that the appeal of Qom's Public Prosecutor concerning Abdollahpour's charges has been rejected by that court, yet the court has sent the file to Tehran's Revolutionary Court. It appears that both of Abdollahpour's and Moddaresi's case will be heard now by Tehran's Revolutionary Court branch.