Iran defends decision not to allow Canadians attend trial of photojournalist
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza-Asefi said Sunday that the fact that foreigners were allowed to attend Saturday's court hearing on the photojournalist Zahra Kazemi case proves that the Iranian government has no cause for concern as the criminal proceeding has always been transparent.
Addressing reporters in his weekly press briefing, Asefi alluded to accusations diplomats of certain countries were not allowed to attend the hearing, and stressed that foreigners were allowed to attend but not foreign nationals who were there to act as "observers".
According to IRNA, he said he saw no reason for the presence of foreign observers in any court hearing for an Iranian national.
"Any such presence would not in any way add to the fairness or impartiality of any trial," he said, adding that a decision to bar the press in a criminal proceeding is usual in most countries in order to prevent a prejudgment of the case, he added.
Last week, Iran told Canada observers would not be allowed to attend the trial of a man accused of killing Kazemi - a Montreal photojournalist from an Iranian origin.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)