Saturday, April 25, 2009

An old interview with Delara's Advocate

On April 24, 2007, a day after Delara Darabi’s execution order was approved by the Distinctions Branch of Iran’s Supreme Court, Mino Hemati of Rahai-Zan TV and SaveDelara! Campaign spoke with Delara’s lawyer, Mr. Abdolsamad Khoramshahi. The following is a transcript of some of Ms. Hemati’s conversation with Mr. Khoramshahi.

Mino Hemati: Mr. Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, you are defense counsel for Delara Darabi. Mr. Khoramshahi, according to press reports, Delara’s death sentence has been approved by the Distinctions Branch (of Iran’s Supreme Court), and you, according to these reports, objected to this ruling and the last ruling body that reviewed has rejected it. Is this correct, and if so, what are your next steps, Mr. Khoramshahi?

Abdolsamad Khoramshahi: We have done everything that is legally possible for the defense of Ms. Delara Darabi. . . .We have implemented all legal means of proceedings in this case. . . .The last phase where we could object, after the sentence was approved by the Supreme Court, was in the Distinctions Branch. We filed our objection in the Distinctions Branch as well. However, apparently, contrary to our expectations, and in a very short period of time, according to what I have understood from the Distinctions Branch, they rejected our objection and have not accepted it. Still, I am not without hope because, as you know, the person who can give the final OK to this matter is the head of the judiciary. . . . I am hopeful that during the final phase, the issues that we have highlighted, which are quite apparent, and if they are investigated and reviewed, many issues will be revealed. Accordingly, let me present it to you very simply, we have done everything that was to do procedurally. The last phase, which is the go ahead of the execution, is where I hope issues will be noticed. I am personally hopeful and I have a positive view that during the very last phase, they will notice.

MH: Mr. Khoramshai, what are your reasons for asserting that Delara is innocent? If you were to put them in a summary fashion.

AK: From a legal stand point, in criminal cases, there should be reasons behind a conviction. That means that they should be able to say, for this reason, this reason and this reason, you are found to be guilty of this crime. In this case, there is Delara’s confession. Delara during a time period that was very short and limited, during the initial days when she was arrested, because of how she had been treated by her father, and based on what her friend had told her, telling her that she should say that she had done this and that she was the one who had stabbed the victim, and was told that because she is under the age of 18 and would not face execution, so come and accept responsibility for this, she had said that she was responsible. However, confession is only worth anything when the confession matches the evidence!
The court should not accept any and all “confessions.” Even though Delara has provided a confession, we must determine whether this is really the truth of the matter, could Delara have been the murderer? According to the investigations, it was clear that Delara is left-handed and the stab wounds were on the right side of the victim. And this occurred when Delara’s friend was standing between Delara and the victim! Close examination of the police revealed that Delara could in no way have inflicted these wounds. So from a logical and physical stand point, Delara’s confession has absolutely no value.

And the plan was that this matter would be recreated (in court). That is how our plea to the first court was: That if Delara was proved to be left-handed, then the crime scene would be recreated in court so that it could be shown whether Delara could have done this with her left hand. Unfortunately, for reasons that are still not clear to us, this recreation never occurred despite the fact that it was proven that Delara is left-handed. But this recreation never took place. . . . Delara’s confession in no way matched the evidence in this case and it did not have anything to do with the findings of the investigators or of the police in this case. In any event that confession could not underlie the truth in this case and I have always emphasized this point.
It is true that the judge has his own opinion, which is honored, and I am not defending the murder. I believe that murder is the greatest sin, the greatest crime in any society, in any country. Noone is defending the commission of murder! But I believe that we must not easily dismiss these issues, and God forbid, due to lack of attention, an innocent person is hanged.
In any event, I believe that the issues that we have pointed out, if reviewed, will make a difference, and the truth will be revealed.

MH: Mr. Khoramshahi, I have one final question that I would like to ask you. I don’t want to bother you as I know that you are extremely busy. The issuance of death sentences for children under the age of 18, according to [Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)], which Iran signed in 1972 is illegal.

AK: I do not want to get into that because I have already answered the issue of the execution of minors. My assertion here is that Delara is not a murderer. So this is not the place to argue about whether the execution of Delara comports with human rights standards. I do not deal with that issue at all because I know that Delara is not a murderer, so there is no need to argue that because Delara was under the age of 18 she should not be executed. That is another issue. My position is that Delara could not be a murderer and that she has been wrongly accused and I am seeking to prove this and that based on the evidence that is available, Delara could not be murderer. This is what I am after
MH: So as I understand it, you are going higher, and are asking that this sentence be rejected.
AK: Yes. I am hopeful that in the very last phase, which requires the approval of the head of the judiciary to carry out the execution, they will notice the issues. I am hopeful that this order will not be carried out.

From: Save Delara

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