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Embattled MP claims immunity from legal prosecution for statements

Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA -- A Tehran representative to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), Ms Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, was quoted here on Tuesday as saying that she had not received official summons from the Revolutionary Court for remarks made in the hallowed halls of Majlis.

The Persian-language daily `Hambastegi' quoted Haqiqatjou's comments given during an interview with the student news agency ISNA on the possibility of her being ordered to appear before the Revolutionary Court as was reported by a morning newspaper.

"If I am summoned because of my remarks then it means I have no immunity from legal prosecution (in the discharge of legislative functions). As a member of Majlis, I am entitled to legislative immunity. If I cannot feel secure, what about the other ordinary citizens?" she told the agency.

The reformist MP sharply criticized the judiciary Sunday for its arrest of another woman-reformist, Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, on yet undeclared charges and the manner in which the arrest was conducted.

She condemned the arrest as a stark violation of Mohjer's privacy, a basic right of every individual and protected by the laws of the state.

She said Mohajer's arrest was unwarranted. Press quoted Haqiqatjou as saying that the police had removed Mohajer's veil from her head and pushed her at her doorsteps in the presence of her children and family while in the process of being arrested.

Mohajer works with the Public Relations Department of the daily `Hambastegi'.

In an open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which was read out on the floors of parliament on Sunday, Fatemeh Haqiqatjou said: "Armed agents coming to arrest Fariba resorted to force and violence."

As for the remarks of the head of the Revolutionary Court during an interview published in a newspaper on Monday, she said that although she had no means to verify the authenticity of the remarks she considered them as having been made to follow up on the issue involved.

As for the summoning of a number of Majlis deputies to the court, Haqiqatjou was quoted as saying that deputies are entitled to parliamentary immunity in order to be able to discharge their duties properly.

She said that in her opinion any summons issued to her would be a violation of the constitution. She also expressed her regret that the judiciary, which is tasked with upholding the constitution, would itself be guilty of violating it.

Haqiqatjou, who is a member of the women's division of the Majlis, said that the exercise by Majlis of supervisory powers can be justified within the framework of its power to conduct investigations and follow-ups as stipulated in Article 90, which establishes legal procedures to prevent constitutional violations.

Likewise, she said, the president, who is constitutionally empowered to execute laws, is also empowered to make the necessary follow-up on these issues.

Commenting on the remarks made by the head of the Revolutionary Court, the MP said she regretted his having made the remarks and quoted Article 86 of the constitution in defense of her actuation.

"I have accomplished my duty but he fabricated accusations for which I will file a complaint against him."

She stressed that from the legal standpoint the Revolutionary Court has no power to subpoena her.

Asked about reports that Mohajer had denied Haqiqatjou's remarks and faxed a copy of the denial to the Office of the Majlis speaker, she said the office had denied receiving any faxed statement.

As for the health condition of Ezzatollah Sahabi, a dissident journalist currently in jail, Haqiqatjou quoted the journalist's daughter, Haleh, as repeatedly saying that her father is "not in satisfactory health condition."

Haqiqatjou on Sunday also claimed that Sahabi had been subjected to some sort of psychological torture as the result of which, she said, he was not able to recognize family members who visited him in prison on Saturday.

Sahabi, 75, was sentenced last month to four years in prison for his part in a Berlin conference on political change in Iran. He is serving his sentence at Evin Prison.

Meanwhile, Haleh announced that members of Sahabi's family had a meeting with Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Monday.

She later told IRNA that Karroubi had given assurances that he would do all he can to get better prison conditions for her father. However, she said Sahabi's family did not expect much from Karroubi.

Sahabi's daughter affirmed the assessment made by Haqiqatjou on the journalist's unstable psychological condition at the time his family visited him in prison on Saturday.

It should be noted that family members were able to visit Sahabi upon the intervention of Karroubi.

Reformist MP urges lawsuit against top judge

Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA -- A reformist MP called Tuesday on the reformist-led parliament (Majlis) to rebuke the head of Tehran Justice Administration Abbasali Alizadeh who has banned Majlis from any probe into the judicial system.

Majid Ansari said that the parliamentary presiding board should take "legal action" against Alizadeh who, he added, has disparaged the chamber.

"Regretfully, the situation has become so that the top officials relay their messages through tribunes and loud-speakers," he told an open session.

He said that on the basis of the Article 78 of the Constitution, Majlis has the right to probe into "all state affairs." "It is undeniable right of the Majlis to investigate all activities of the institutions."

Other MPs applauded Ansari with "bravos."

Alizadeh said Monday that Majlis is not allowed to make any probe into "legal affairs" of the justice administration but, he added, it can interfere in "administrative affairs."

Ansari stressed that "no official can keep Majlis from its legal responsibilities.

Sanguinely, he said that the state broadcasting has been denying the basic rights of the people.

"Is Mr Alizadeh charged with interpretation of the constitution to prohibit the parliamentary probe," he asked.

Majlis has said it would conduct an investigation into the recent trial of operatives convicted of murdering dissidents and intellectuals in 1998.

Some 100 pro-reform parliamentary deputies have signed a petition asking for more clarification on the circumstances surrounding the serial murders.

A senior judge, Mohammad Niazi, said last Wednesday in southern Ahwaz city that the lawyer of 15 of those sentenced in the serial murders case had appealed to the Supreme Court. The families of the victims, however, did not personally sanction the appeals, issued some 20 days ago.

He said that two of those convicted in the murders, as well as three accomplices, are now serving their sentences in prison.

Last month a military court announced it had sentenced three information agents to death and five others to life terms found guilty of murdering nationalists Darioush and Parvaneh Forouhar and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh.

Seven of the 18 defendants, all intelligence ministry personnel, received lesser jail terms and three were acquitted.

Victims' families boycotted the trial in protest to the closed door trial ordered by the judiciary and what they said was the removal of key evidence from the court's files.

They also voiced out disapproval over the death sentences later imposed, saying they were not seeking a "vendetta."

The press noted that former agents of the intelligence ministry, found guilty on murder charges, during the period of the assassinations had prepared a hit list of more than 40 more names for possible "elimination."

Intelligence Minister Ali Younessi had earlier said that the judge's 17-page ruling had to be taken as "conclusive" and the case effectively closed.

Journalist goes to court, pleads not guilty

Tehran, Feb 26, IRNA -- Managing Editor of Weekly `Aban' Mohammad- Hassan Alipour went to the Bench 1413 of Tehran's Public Court, presided over by judge Mohammad Bayat, on Monday to respond to 19 counts of charges raised against him.

Alipour has been charged with spreading lies, insulting the Guardians Council (GC), undermining the Judiciary and the system, launching propaganda against the system and in favor of illegal groups.

Representative of the public prosecutor general Ali-Asghar Tashakori has asked for punishment of the journalist per articles 727, 698, 608 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Alipour, speaking at the open court session, citing the Constitution and the Press Law, said his trial was illegal.

He denied all the charges raised against him.

Bayat set the date for the next court hearing on March 5.

... Payvand News - 2/27/01 ... --

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