Hossein Shariatmadari, who heads the Kayhan newspaper attacked Mostafa Mohaqeq-Damad, a moderate Iranian cleric, for having said in an open letter to Iranian judges to observe more cautiously the rights of the defendants while presiding over the cases of those arrested during the country’s ongoing upheaval.
In his letter, dated December 15, Mohaqeq-Damad pleaded with judges to exercise particular caution when issuing death sentences for those arrested during the riots.
He asked judges for “a meticulous observation of criminal procedure, which is one of the most beautiful accomplishments of human civilization and reason, and [for] fully respecting the defendant’s rights, besides caring for the human-Islamic principle of exercising caution in issuing death sentences.”
Shariatmadari said in an article in the Kayhan newspaper on Sunday and in response to Mohaqeq-Damad’s open letter that the “punishment of criminals” is recognized everywhere in the world.
He said the open letter was given “wide” coverage by hostile foreign-based media, like BBC Persian, Voice of America (VOA), and London-based Iran International, and added that the author had attempted to “conceal [his] true intentions in the letter” by using Islamic jurisprudence jargon.