Prison Atlas
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Prison Atlas

Commander of Zam’s Execution, Moghiseh’s Successor; a Glance through the Political Records of Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad

Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad, pictured here, has been involved in multiple executions of political prisoners throughout 2020.

Mohammad Reza Amouzad, a judge with the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, sentenced at least four political prisoners to death between February 2020 to July 2020: Rouhollah Zam, Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi were all sentenced to death at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where Judge Amouzad has been present as a secondary judge. Rouhollah Zam’s execution was carried out on December 12, 2020.

According to research conducted by Iran Prison Atlas, Judge Amouzad, who used to preside over mostly non-political cases at Branch 24 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, has also been a part of several important political cases at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court as a secondary judge alongside Judge Salavati. Article 297 of the Criminal Procedure Code calls for the presence of a secondary judge in the Revolutionary Court in cases dealing with serious accusations.

The Case of Rouhollah Zam: Amouzad’s Presence as a Secondary Judge at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Rouhollah Zam, a journalist opposing the Iranian state, was initially sentenced to death by judges Salavati and Amouzad. Zam was denied access to a lawyer during his detention, was not allowed to be in touch with his family, and was most likely held in solitary confinement until his execution. Not only did judges Salavati and Amouzad seriously violate Zam’s right to a fair trial during the investigation of his case, but they also considered a large set of his actions, such as disclosing information on corruption cases, informing people about protests, and encouraging protesters to take to the streets, as criminal. Contrary to the opinion of these two judges and the Judicial system of Iran, such deeds are considered basic human rights and should by no means be considered criminal under international law. A full description of Zam’s case and a legal analysis of its circumstances can be read here.

Death and Prison Sentences Imposed on Protesters involved in the November 2019’s Nationwide Demonstrations: Amouzad’s Appearance as a Secondary Judge at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad showed up in the court as a secondary judge alongside Judge Salavati for the case of three protesters living in Tehran: Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi. Earlier, due to a lack of access to the case details, Iran Prison Atlas and other human rights organizations had named only Abolghasem Salavati as the judge who had imposed the death sentences, but Atlas researchers have found in a recent investigation that Judge Amouzad, as the secondary judge, had also sentenced the three prisoners to death. Here again, considering the events’ description and its legal analysis, the fair trial procedure has been seriously violated.

Imprisonment Cases of November Protesters: Amouzad’s Appearance as the Head of Branch 24 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad’s name was brought up after the passing of sentences he had imposed on protesters involved in Iran’s nationwide demonstrations of November 2019. He imposed prison sentences between six months to five years on at least 12 individuals involved in the protests. In most cases, he has sentenced the political defendants to the highest level of punishment set by the Islamic Penal Code. Since the information about most of the sentences imposed on the November protesters was published without mentioning the judge or branch that had handed down the verdict, he has likely pronounced the judgment for a larger number of the November protesters.

Whipping and Prison Sentences for Atena Daemi: Amouzad’s Presence in Court as the head of the Tehran’s Revolutionary Court

On July 28, 2020, Atena Daemi’s new case went to trial at Branch 24 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Amouzad as the chief judge. In the court session on July 28, 2020, matters such as releasing a statement from inside the prison and “holding a celebration” on the anniversary of the third Shiite Imam’s assassination and “chanting slogans” on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution were included as accusations against Daemi. Three days later, relying on such accusations, Judge Amouzad sentenced Atena Daemi to two years in prison and 74 lashes on charges of “disrupting public order and propaganda against the state.” Under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, one year in prison and 74 lashes are enforceable.

Amouzad’s Transfer from Branch 24 to Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

The majority of Tehran’s political cases have been forwarded to Branches 15, 26, and 28 of the city’s Revolutionary Court over the last few years. According to information gathered by Iran Prison Atlas, from March 2016 to December 2020, judges Salavati at Branch 15, Pir Abbasi, Ahmadzadeh, and Afshari at Branch 26, and Moghiseh at Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court investigated at least 836 political cases. They passed at least 76 death sentences and 3,994 years in prison for the Iranian state’s dissidents and critics. According to reports released in November this year, Judge Moghiseh has moved to the Supreme Court and has been replaced by Judge Amouzad at Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. As described above, Amouzad has revealed his abilities to bloodily suppress the Iranian society even before he won a permanent seat at one of the most important political branches of the Revolutionary Court.

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United for Iran

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United for Iran is an independent nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area working for human rights and civil liberties in Iran.