Any Iranian judge offered another glimpse into the medieval Sharia legal system. After a man was given a trial lasting only a couple minutes, Reza Hosseini, 34, begged the judge to listen to his evidence that he is innocent. Instead, the judge told the man “if you’re innocent you’ll go to heaven.”
Hosseini was one of four prisoners hanged to death on Tuesday at Ghezel Hesar Prison of Karaj in northern Iran. His charges were drug related but he insisted that he was charged because he got into a “physical altercation” with the authorities in the parking lot of their house. The family said that the drugs seized in the case came not from his house but a neighbor’s house. They say that he was beaten while in custody for 70 days.
In a perfunctory trial, Judge Tayerani encouraged him to plead guilty but Hosseini replied saying: “Why should I plead guilty if I am innocent?” Tayerani reportedly responded “If you are innocent, then you will go to heaven after you are hanged.” Now that is convenient.
His wife, Azadeh Geravand, said that she and the family were not allowed to visit him and that they were only allowed to see him 11 months after his arrest.
The family was finally able to speak with the prosecutor who allegedly told them that Hosseini would be exonerated. However, without afforded an opportunity to defend him or present a case, he was summarily convicted and sentence to death. The only consideration extended to him by the judge was his assurance of paradise — apparently the only real appeal from a Sharia court.
Even after his sentence, officials refused to allow the family to see Hosseini and instead heaped ridicule and abuse on them.