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Lawmaker In Iran Says Judiciary Can't Save The Regime By Harsh Verdicts

File photo - Member of Iranian parliament, Ali Motahari, undated.

In an open letter to the head of the Islamic Republic Judiciary, Tehran's outspoken representative in the Iranian parliament, has lambasted judges for issuing harsh sentences.

Recent harsh verdicts and arrests of dissidents, activists and journalists has led to a wave of criticism and condemnations in Iran.

Referring to Sahar Khodayari who recently committed suicide by self-immolation, and Sattar Beheshti who died in early November 2012 a couple of days after being arrested, Ali Motahari urged the head of the judiciary to employ judges whose "wisdom dominates their knowledge."

The letter that a copy of it was published on Wednesday, September 11, by Asr-i Iran website, also insists that in many cases, judges issue harsh sentences against the suspects, regardless of the impact of their crime on the society.

"Sattar Beheshti's case is a good example of such approach," Motahari says.

Sattar Beheshti was an Iranian blogger who died in custody in early November 2012 a few days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic on Facebook.

Motahari has also referred to the recent case of, Sahar Khodayari a female football fan who set herself on fire and days later died for being sentenced to six-month jail. She was being prosecuted for attempting to enter a stadium to watch men’s football. Women are not allowed in Iran as spectators of men’s sports.

Motahari in his letter to the head of Judiciary says, let us assume that Khodayari’'s attempt to enter the stadium as a boy was against the law, but "Even so, the problem could have been tackled with a terse warning and some advice."

Lambasting some judges and interrogators for their wrong approach, and misunderstanding the concept of "protecting the regime," Motahari has asserted in another part of his open letter, "Such judges and interrogators wrongly assume that by issuing hard verdicts they will scare others, and ultimately preserve the Islamic Republic system."

However, Motahari has affirmed, "Judges, inspectors, and interrogators should be told that such an attitude is misguided and will not help to preserve” the regime.