Saeed Mortazavi

Three former senior figures in the judiciary — Saeed Mortazavi, Hassan Zareh Dehnavi and Ali Akbar Heydarifar — went on trial today in Tehran in connection with the torture and death of detainees in Kahrizak Prison.

The authorities previously had announced that the trial would be open to the public but they appear to have reversed that decision, and the session was held behind closed doors.

The Mehr News Agency wrote today that the former Tehran Prosecutor, his deputy and prosecutor are standing trial today as suspects in the death of three detainees at Kahrizak Prison.

In 2009, a group of detained protesters was transferred to Kahrizak Prison, where they were tortured and abused. News of their abuse was publicized after three of the detainees, Amir Javadifar, Mohsen Ruholamini and Mohammad Kamrani, were killed under torture.

The trial is being presided over by Judge Siyamak Modir Khorasani and three other consulting judges.

ISNA reports that the criminal court security officials did not allow the delegation accompanying Saeed Mortazavi to enter the court.

Hojjatoleslam Mohammadreza Zaeri was accompanying the Ruholamini family, who are the parents of one of the victims, and was present at the door of the criminal court in Tehran and told reporters at the scene: “According to the constitution, trials must be open, and Judge Eftekhari had said earlier that the trial would be open, but unfortunately it has not happened.”

Judge Eftekhari was quoted as saying: “By principle, the trial will be open; however, it will ultimately be up to the presiding judge and his consulting judges.”

The three suspects are charged with “colluding in illegal arrests”, and an earlier, more serious charge of conspiracy in murder was dropped.

Mortazavi is a close ally of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the president has appointed the dismissed former prosecutor to top jobs in his administration despite the charges brought against him.

Ahmadinejad has also deflected Parliament’s criticism of Mortazavi by making allegations of fraud and corruption against the speaker of the house and the head of the judiciary.