Blogger Vahid Asghari refuses to appear in court

HRANA News Agency – Blogger Vahid Asghari who is locked up in Evin Prison has refused to appear in court.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Asghari had previously been sentenced to death by Judge Salvati presiding over the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.  However, the Supreme Court recently remanded his case to the 28th branch of the Appeals Court.  Judge Mohammed Moqayaseh has been assigned to review the case.
Before his arrest, Asghari was studying computer engineering at Bangalore University in India.  He was expected to appear in court on Sunday, June 2, 2013 but instead wrote a letter to explain his reasons for refusing to comply with the judge’s order.
“I refuse to appear in court for many reasons some of which are as follows,” Asghari writes in the letter obtained by HRANA.  “I am forced to wear a prisoner’s uniform during court appearance.  I have not been allowed to meet with my attorney so far even once.  I have no knowledge of the old and new charges against me.  I was neither informed of the lower court’s verdict nor the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
In his letter, Asghari further describes that he has been denied access to a defense attorney.  “I have every right to refuse court appearance under such circumstances,” he declares.  “And I must be immune from retaliation.  No one has the right to send me to solitary confinement or torture me because of this decision.”
“I have been in so-called temporary custody for five years,” Asghari further explains in his letter.  “Meanwhile, the judge and the prosecutor have refused to examine the documents that I have submitted in my own defense.  Instead, they have used my so-called confessions which were obtained under duress while I was being tortured for two years.”
“Asghari is currently under tremendous pressure to appear in court,” a prisoner locked up in Ward 350 of Evin Prison says.

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