[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Date:] 12 Tir 1334 [ 4 July 1955]
[Issue No.:] 42
The Trial of the Yazdi Defendants Continues
One of the Defendants’ Lawyers Said: “First of All, We Are Iranians.”
The case of the murder in Hormozdak Village, in which seven Baha’is were killed, is being heard by Branch 1 of the Supreme Criminal Court, and since twenty days before the beginning of the trial, the court has been hearing the statements of the defendants and the lawyers of the private plaintiffs.
The defendants in this incident are 44 people, who are all in prison. The indictment in the case was published in issues 30 and 31 of this newspaper, to prevent local infiltrations. During the investigations carried out in court, the defendants have generally introduced themselves as not having interfered in the disputes, and have declared themselves as “uninformed” and “innocent”.
The defendants’ attorneys, two or three of whom were assigned as public defenders and the rest were elected [by the defendants], in addition to defending their cases and their clients, have debated the issue of Muslim and Baha’i religions and criticized the Baha’i teachings and their religious principles and even denounced them as mahduru’d-dam [one whose life and safety is not protected by law and can be killed with impunity]. “We are Iranians before being Muslims,” said Dr. Setayesh, one of the defence attorneys, at a hearing two days ago, criticizing the religious and ideological differences, and he praised the Baha’is. Dr. Setayesh’s remarks angered several clerics who were present at the hearing, who, along with some of the defendants’ lawyers, left the court in protest.
At the next hearing, all 44 defendants, who considered Dr. Setayesh’s remarks to be in conflict with his legal duties, dismissed him from the post.
Tehran’s [Islamic] clerical circle follows the trial with great care, and often several turban-wearing clerics, as well as Seyyeds, are present in the court. It is said that the fees of the selected attorneys were paid by the religious authorities, and so far, sweets and money and clothes have been distributed to the defendants two or three times.
It is said that foreign officials also follow the [court’s] proceedings with special attention and interest. They are waiting for the court’s decision. So far, two or three foreigners have attended to watch the hearing.
Outside the court, in addition to the clergy, the critics and the representatives [of the parliament] also support the defendants and two or three of the defendants’ lawyers are not reluctant to create an atmosphere of fear, harassment and accusation, and to influence the court with the stick of “takfir” [heresy].
But the head of the court carefully strives to perform his duties well. At Sunday’s hearing, one of the defendants’ lawyers wanted to speak outside the case and apply the private opinion of one of his novice colleagues, who has several cases in the bar inspection. He was challenged by the court and forced to remain silent. Of the members of parliament, only Mr. Ahmad Tabatabaei, the representative of Qom, participates as the defence lawyer for the accused. The public prosecutor, in relation to some of the accused, has cited Articles 180, 175, 250 and 257 of the General Penal Code, and for some he has also cited Article 162.
Our legal experts predict that the case has been set up so that the accused will enjoy the maximum legal benefits and materials related to the mitigation of punishment, and even if several of them are convicted, their sentences will presumably be no longer than the time they have already been held in the prison, and that after the end of the trial, they will be released and will return to their places with the financial assistance that has been given to them.
The trial may take another two weeks.