Those observing the trial of German-Iranian citizen Jamshid Sharmahd in Iran say he was coerced into incriminating himself during the seventh and final hearing on Tuesday.
The 67-year-old was abducted in Dubai in August 2020. After a long career as a software engineer, later in life he had become the spokesman for exiled Iranian opposition group Tondar, and was thus accused by the Islamic Republic of having masterminded a string of terror attacks in Iran, which he denies.
Amnesty International has called Sharmahd’s trial “grossly unfair”. The father-of-two and grandfather has been kept in solitary confinement, which is considered a form of torture, for the best part of two years without access to a lawyer or case notes.
On Tuesday, Sharmahd, who also has Parkinson’s disease, was again asked about a 2008 explosion at a mosque in Shiraz, which killed 14 people and injured about 200.
As before, Sharmahd insisted that he had not designed or ordered the apparent bombing, or another one that took place in Rasht. He did, however, agree that he had “announced a coup against the Islamic Republic” from Tondar’s TV studio in California.
At a previous hearing in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, Sharmahd was told by the judge that during his incarceration, he had signed a document stating he took responsibility for the bombing. He responded: “Yes. But I didn’t do anything.”
Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled to be the last. Sharmahd is accused of “corruption on earth”, an ill-defined charge in the Islamic Penal Code that can carry the death penalty if upheld.
Human rights and anti-capital punishment activist Mina Ahadi said of the case: “This is no trial under the rule of law. A confession after 700 days of isolation torture and enormous physical and psychological pressure has no value whatsoever."
Gazelle Sharmahd, Jamshid Sharmahd’s daughter, said: “Seeing my father's pictures in the Iranian media breaks my heart.
“Not only has he lost weight; he can barely walk upright, and suffers from heart pain and breathing difficulties. He has also lost all his teeth, which raises the question in my mind, what have they done to him?
“In a rare phone call two days ago with the family, it was clear that he had lost a sense of space and time. He seemed tired and exhausted. My father is innocent: he was imprisoned for using his right to freedom of expression."
The Mideast Freedom Forum has called on the German government and the Bundestag to publicly demand Jamshid Sharmahd’s immediate release. In a statement, it added: “Harsh consequences must be threatened in the event that Mr. Shahrmahd is actually executed in this show trial.”