Saeed Mortazavi

Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran Prosecutor who is on trial for “complicity to murder” told reporters after the end of the second court session that he challenges the legitimacy of the judge presiding over his case.

The Mehr News Agency reports that the second court session for the Kharizak case was held behind closed doors today, March 10, in the Tehran criminal court.

Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran Prosecutor, Hassan Zareh Dehnavi, also known as Judge Haddad, and Ali Akbar Heydarifar, the former deputy prosecutor, are three judiciary officials now facing charges in connection with the torture and death of detainees at Kahrizak Prison in 2009.

The three are facing the charge of “participation in illegal arrests” and Mortazavi is also facing the charge of “being complicit in murder.”

Preliminary reports indicate that the trials could have been open to the public but the judge in the case used his discretionary rights to close it to the public.

Today, Saeed Mortazavi told reporters that he was on leave when the events in question took place at Kahrizak and it was other judges who issued the order for the arrest of the Kharizak detainees.

He added that he has prepared a 40-page defence, which he has read in part in court and will finish in the next session tomorrow morning. He also claimed that he was prepared for an open court in order to reveal that he was in no way involved in the Kahrizak events.

“These charges are all politically motivated,” Mortazavi told reporters today. “My friends and I were not in any way involved in these events.”

Families of the Kahrizak victims have also called for an open court, but the decision of the presiding judge has closed the proceedings to the public.

A parliamentary probe into the torture and death of detainees at Kahrizak found that Mortazavi and his two colleagues had to be held accountable for their involvement in the case and face charges in court.

Families of the victims have worked hard to make Mortazavi face charges in court since the former Tehran prosecutor is a close ally of the president and, thus, serious obstacles had to be dealt with to get him before a judge.