September 21, 1998

Honorable President Khatami,

As you are well aware, on September 8th, my husband, Abbas Amir-Entezam, was called to the branch 511 of the general court of Shemiran region to stand trial for the charges of slander. However, in spite of a release order issued by the court and a bail of 10,000,000.00 Rials which was paid in full, he was taken to prison and has yet to be released. When asked for an explanation, I was told that my husband's incarceration had nothing to do with the slander charges for which he had been called to the court but with the alleged espionage charges dating back to 1979, the details of which I do not know. As was the case for his release from prison nearly two years ago, this new arrest remains without explanation.

Isn't your honor's popular government, which supports liberty, rule of law and respect for human dignity and rights, obligated to issue an explanation regarding my husband's arrest? He appeared in court in a timely fashion at early morning hours but was made to wait until closing time at which point he was simply taken to jail. Was it not possible for the court to be rescheduled for the next day to resume investigation without detaining him? If his continued imprisonment required a separate order by the revolutionary court, then why was such order not obtained before his arrest?

I fail to understand why our justice system is responding so swiftly to the suit filed by the Lajavardi family and not to my husband's seventeen-year demand for a fair trial? While the world has come to hear his voice and honor him with human rights awards, our country's justice system continues to ignore his demand and react only when slander charges are brought against him.

This is most baffling as well as deserving of attention that my husband's seventeen-year cry for justice never reached sympathetic ears of the authorities. Needless to say that he has nothing against the family of the plaintiff, the late Mr. Lajavardi, and his comments were solely directed at the unpleasant way in which Mr. Lajavardi treated prisoners of whom my husband was one.

My husband's voice echoes the voice of many others who have been victimized by the prevailing injustices that continue to plague our country and find no justice in the current Islamic Justice system. They now hope that you can finally establish the rule of law and due process in our land.

I do apologize to take up your precious time particularly when you are leaving for the United Nations. I plead with you to order my husband's immediate release and call for a fair trial that is long overdue. I have no doubt that such decision on your part will resonate in the hearts of all Iranians whose cry for lawfulness is being heard from every corner of Iran. This, I trust, will revive the hope that we too can indeed live in a civil society.

With respect,

Elahe Amir-Entezam

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