The judge in the trial of 13 Iranian Jews rejected a defense request Monday for the closed-door proceedings to be made open to the public, court spokesman Hossein-Ali Amiri said.
Jusge Sadeq Nurani made his decision for reasons of national security, Amiri said.
He added, however, that Nurani had taken the request into account and would consider it further."
Lawyer Ismael Nasseri had told journalists earlier, "As soon as the audience resumes, I am going to ask that the trial no longer be held behind closed doors but be made public."
Nasseri denounced what the called the mediatization of the trial, which opened April 13 in an Iranian revolutionary court, which handles national security issues.
He denounced the selective publication in the media of some details of the trial.
Three defendants have so far admitted having links with Israeli's intelligence agency Mossad and offering it sensitive material.
Iranian television has broadcast the "confessions" by some of the defendants but Nasseri blasted this as a political act aimed at trying to diminish pressure from abroad.
But a spokesman for the court -- in the city of Shiraz -- dismissed any suggestion of bias against the accused.
"Holding closed-door proceedings is no longer valid and we are going to ask that the secrecy be lifted," he said.
Amiri for his part indicated that as three of the defendants had confessed in public it did not matter if the trial itself was secret.
"The verdict will be reached in full independence, excluding any political pressure," he said, condemning in particular Israeli accusations against the Iranian legal system.
The 13 Jews arrested last year could face the death penalty if convicted of spying for arch-enemy Israel, which along with several western countries has denounced the closely-watched case – (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )