Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic ofIran : Iran (Islamic Republic of). 03/21/96. E/CN.4/1996/59. (Reportof Extra-Conventional Mechanisms)
|Document Type:||Report of Extra-Conventional Mechanisms |
|Document Date: ||03/21/96 |
|Issued By: ||Special Rapp./Rep. |
|Reference/Symbol: ||E/CN.4/1996/59 |
|Length: ||Page(s) |
Economic and Social
21 March 1996
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 10 of the provisional agenda
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANYPART OF THE WORLD, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO COLONIAL AND OTHER DEPENDENTCOUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran, prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission
on Human Rights, Mr. Maurice Copithorne (Canada), pursuant to
Commission resolution 1995/68 of 8 March 1995 and Economic
and Social Council decision 1995/279 of 25 July 1995
I. INTRODUCTION 1 - 26
A. Position of human rights in the world today 3 - 6
B. Special Representative's sources 7 - 10
C. Activities of the Special Representative 11 - 16
D. Correspondence 17 - 18
E. Underlying questions 19
F. Preliminary comments on the Special
Representative's visit to the
Islamic Republic of Iran 20 - 26
II. LEGAL SYSTEM 27 - 57
A. Rights of an accused 28 - 29
B. Court system 30 - 35
C. Selection and training of judges 36 - 40
D. Clerical courts 41
E. Punishments 42 - 50
F. Independent Bar Association 51 - 54
G. Atmosphere of the law 55 - 57
III. STATUS OF WOMEN 58 - 64
IV. THE FATWA AGAINST SALMAN RUSHDIE 65 - 67
V. SITUATION OF THE BAHA'IS 68 - 75
VI. FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA 76 - 85
VII. INFORMATION ON PRISONERS 86 - 88
VIII. VISIT TO EVIN PRISON IN TEHRAN 89 - 106
IX. OTHER IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OF CONCERN 107 - 115
A. Disappearances and deaths under suspicious
circumstances 107 - 109
B. Violence outside the Islamic Republic of Iran 110 - 113
C. Democracy 114 - 115
X. HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
OF IRAN 116 - 118
XI. SITUATION OF REFUGEES 119 - 124
XII. CONCLUSIONS 125 - 129
I. International human rights instruments to which the Islamic
Republic of Iran is a party
II. Special Representative's visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran:
III. Special Representative's visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran:
IV. Some subjects the Special Representative wishes to pursue on
further visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran
V. Information on executions published in the Iranian and
international press during 1995
VI. Letter dated 11 March 1996 from the Director of the Human Rights
Department of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed
to the Special Representative
VII. Letter dated 28 February 1996 from the Director of the Human
Rights Department of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
addressed to the Special Representative
VIII. Letter dated 7 February 1996 from the Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office
at Geneva addressed to the Special Representative
IX. Letter dated 7 February 1996 from the Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office
at Geneva addressed to the Special Representative
X. Islamic Human Rights Commission
XI. Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1. In March 1995, after nine years of service, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl(El Salvador) submitted his resignation as Special Representative. In August1995, the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Musa bin Hitam,appointed Mr. Maurice Copithorne (Canada) to replace Mr. Galindo Pohl.Mr. Copithorne submitted a brief report to the General Assembly at itsfiftieth session in November 1995 (A/50/661) and undertook to submit hisfirst substantive report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-secondsession in the spring of 1996.
2. The Special Representative notes that the human rights situation inthe Islamic Republic of Iran has been on the agenda of the Commission since1982 and that the Commission first established the position of SpecialRepresentative in 1984. It is a subject that clearly continues to be ofvery great interest to many Governments, organizations and private individuals.This attention reflects a wide range of concerns, some of a personal nature,some of a political nature, many of a humanitarian nature. In the SpecialRepresentative's view, the politicized tone of much of the dialogue isso pervasive that human rights are in danger of becoming a vehicle ratherthan an end in themselves. The Special Representative's function as hesees it is to bring the status of human rights into clear focus and toprovide some indication of areas where progress is being made and areaswhere further progress is needed in order to meet prevailing internationalstandards, particularly as they apply to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A. Position of human rights in the world today
3. Human rights in their most fundamental form are usually associatedwith respect for human dignity, a reflection of the inherent worth of everyhuman being. There seems no gainsaying this basic fact. There also seemsto be little dispute that the Charter of the United Nations and the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights are the starting point for determining thenorms, some general, some specific, that the world community as a wholehas articulated. From the beginning, however, it was evident that a moreprecise articulation would be needed. The result of course was the longdebate and the eventual emergence of the two Covenants, international agreementsto which States were invited to commit themselves. Today some 131 Statesare parties to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and 133 Statesare parties to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Sincethe Covenants were drafted, many other human rights conventions have beenprepared and many of these are in force. Those agreements to which theIslamic Republic of Iran is party are listed in annex I.
4. Taken together, these documents represent the international community'sefforts to set in legislative form the norms and in some cases the proceduresto be followed by States. The texture of this regime is rich and complex.It is in some parts vague enough to give rise to different interpretations.Taken as a whole, however, it is clearly an expression of the world community'scommitment to the dignity of the individual.
5. Two further points should perhaps be made at this stage. First, thereis a recognized role for the regions in the articulation of human rightsnorms and procedures; some have chosen to supplement the universal commitmentsof their member States by creating additional ones of a regional nature.It is widely believed that, in these regional regimes, the distinctiveculture and values of the region can be meaningfully expressed.
6. The second point is to acknowledge that for some States at least thecentral issue appears to be can universal human rights exist at all ina culturally diverse world? Some of them argue that the culture of themember State must be the optic through which its international commitmentsare assessed. Others however say that the Universal Declaration representsa consensus on human dignity broader than any specific culture or tradition.And indeed the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action declaresin its paragraph 5, that "All human rights are universal, indivisibleand interdependent and interrelated" (A/CONF.157/24, Part I). TheSpecial Representative shares the view of those who believe that universalhuman rights do not impose a single cultural standard, but rather a singlelegal standard affording the minimum protection necessary for human dignity.In the words of a recent United Nations background note: "Traditionalculture is not a substitute for human rights; it is a cultural contextin which human rights must be established, integrated, promoted and protected.Human rights must be approached in a way that is meaningful and relevantin diverse cultural contexts" (DPI/1627/HR).
B. Special Representative's sources
7. In seeking to fulfil his mandate, the Special Representative haslooked to many sources for information including:
(a) The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(b) Individuals both within and outside the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(c) The media, both within and outside the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(d) Private organizations;
(e) Registered non-governmental organizations;
(f) Other Governments;
(g) Parliamentary groups and individuals;
(h) Other United Nations reports.
8. Most information has come to the Special Representative's attentionin written form through the mail or by facsimile. In addition, he receiveddirect representations in New York and in Geneva. Most importantly, inFebruary 1996 he spent six days in the Islamic Republic of Iran at theinvitation of the Iranian Government.
9. With regard to specific allegations, the Special Representative sharesthe view of his predecessor that, while it is important to exercise cautionin accepting unsubstantiated accounts of human rights violations, it wouldbe wrong to exclude an allegation solely because it was presumed to bepolitically biased, lacking in detail indeed generally improbable.
10. Much of the information provided to the Special Representative concernsthe 10-year period or so following the revolution. Many of the informantsare private individuals, who allege that they or a family member were mistreated,even tortured, by one, two or, in some cases, three different Governmentsor political groups, before and after the revolution. In some cases suchpersons died while in detention. In most cases the complainants want thetreatment made known and those responsible punished. The Special Representativetook careful note of all such allegations and has no reason to doubt thatmuch mistreatment occurred. Much of it is recorded in his predecessor'sreports. However, the current Special Representative considers that hisprimary responsibility is to report on the situation since the final reportof his predecessor, namely the period from January 1995 to February 1996.
C. Activities of the Special Representative
11. The Special Representative travelled to Geneva from 3 to 6 September1995 in order to hold consultations with the Centre for Human Rights, thePermanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UnitedNations Office at Geneva, officials of the Office of the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and officials of the InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as to start to familiarize himselfwith the area covered by his mandate.
12. On 24 November 1995, the Special Representative introduced his interimreport to the Third Committee of the General Assembly (A/50/661). Duringhis stay in New York, he held interviews with the High Commissioner forHuman Rights, the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iranto the United Nations and representatives of some non-governmental organizations(NGOs) based or represented in North America, among them, Article 19 InternationalCentre against Censorship, Human Rights Watch/Middle East and the LawyersCommittee for Human Rights. The Special Representative also received representationsfrom the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the National Committeeon Women for a Democratic Iran, the Association of Iranian Scholars andJournalists, as well as private individuals.
13. The Special Representative visited Geneva again from 15 to 19 January1996 in order to consult with the Permanent Representative of the IslamicRepublic of Iran, UNHCR, Amnesty International and the Office of the Baha'iInternational Community. The Special Representative also received representationsfrom 24 witnesses: 5 presented by the National Council of Resistance ofIran; 16 members of a delegation of former members of the People's Mujahedinof Iran and 3 on an individual basis.
14. Of the witnesses interviewed, the following agreed to have their namespublished in the present report: Mohammad Tafiq Asadri, Nadereh Afshankharghani,Azar Babai, Ikbal Babain, Majid Farahami, Karim Haggi-Moni, Hadi ShamsHa'eri, Hassan Hatami, Habib Khorami, Sayid Akbar Mehdyar, Abbas Nazem,Jamshid Tafriski and Nahid Zandaj.
15. On 18 January 1996, the Special Representative received a written invitationto visit the Islamic Republic of Iran. The visit took place from 10 to16 February 1996; the official and the private programmes are reproducedin annexes II and III respectively. The Special Representative was notable to have interviews with the President or Vice-President of the SupremeCourt of Justice, the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Council of Guardiansand the Minister or Vice-Minister of the Interior. All the other high authoritiesand officials with whom the Special Representative sought meetings metwith him.
16. After his visit, the Special Representative again visited Geneva from16 to 21 February 1996 in order to draft the present report and hold consultationsrelated to the fulfilment of his mandate.
17. During the period from 1 August 1995 to 9 February 1996, the SpecialRepresentative received 271 letters from individuals setting out variousproblems, some of them directly related to human rights violations. Duringhis visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Special Representative received72 additional letters from individuals.
18. In addition, the Special Representative has received 65 letters fromthe following NGOs since 1 August 1995: Amnesty International, AnglicanCommunion, Association of Iranian Scholars and Professionals, Associationto Defend Human Rights in Iran (from Montreal), About Iran, Baha'i InternationalCommunity, Campaign for the Defence of Political Prisoners, Centre forthe Defence of Democracy in Iran, Christian Solidarity International, ComitatoMohammad Hossein Naghdi contro il terrorismo di stato e per i diritti umaniin Iran, Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights, Committeeto Protect Journalists, Community of Iranian Students, ConstitutionalistMovement of Iran, Council for the Defence of Religious Leaders, Councilof Shia Muslims in the United States of America, Canada and Europe, Defendersof Islam in Iran, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Foundation forDemocracy in Iran, Inc., Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation, Human Rights Watch/MiddleEast, International Federation of Human Rights, International Federationof Iranian Refugees and Immigrants Council, International Pen - Writersin Prison Committee, Iranian Community Centre, Jubilee Campaign, KurdishDemocratic Party of Iran (Revolutionary Leadership), League for the Defenceof Human Rights in Iran, International League for the Rights and Liberationof Peoples, National Committee of Women for Democratic Iran, National Councilof Resistance of Iran, Organisation des droits de l'homme et des libertésfondamentales pour l'Iran, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence,Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority), Parliamentary HumanRights Group of the House of Commons and World Federation of DemocraticYouth.
E. Underlying questions
19. In approaching his mandate, the Special Representative identifieda number of general questions:
(a) Seventeen years after the Islamic Revolution and seven years afterthe cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war, is it the rule of law or the ruleof man that prevails in the Islamic Republic of Iran?
(b) Has the reported discrepancy between promulgated laws and declarednorms and particularly the provisions of the Constitution on the one handand their implementation on the other been eliminated or at least reduced?
(c) Is the widely held impression that dissent, even peaceful dissent,is frequently met with repression a valid one?
(d) Are there political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Moreparticularly, is there a clear distinction between imprisonment for conscienceand imprisonment for criminal acts?
F. Preliminary comments on the Special Representative's
visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran
20. As indicated above, a most significant component of the SpecialRepresentative's activities has been his visit to the Islamic Republicof Iran from 10 to 16 February 1996, the first visit of a Special Representativesince 1991. It has thus been five years since the last opportunity to haveextensive discussions with senior government officials and indeed significantfigures in Iranian society outside the Government, as well as with currentdetainees.
21. The Special Representative's programme in the Islamic Republic of Iranplaced substantial emphasis on discussions with senior government officials,ministers, vice-ministers and senior judges. The Special Representativerecognizes that such contacts are not likely to provide a comprehensivepicture of a society. Nevertheless, he believes that this was the appropriatestarting point. A six-day visit to a society as rich and complex as thatof the Islamic Republic of Iran can only be an introduction. He looks uponhis visit in this light and hopes there will be an opportunity within thenext 12 months for a longer visit in order to deepen his understanding,particularly by broadening his range of contacts and visiting places outsideTehran. In this regard, the Special Representative has identified someof the subject areas he would like to examine at that time (see annex IV).
22. As indicated above, during his February visit to the Islamic Republicof Iran, the Special Representative met with many senior officials. A dominanttheme in the presentations to him was what was perceived to be the unfairnessof the special procedures mechanism, particularly that of country rapporteurs.The unfairness was seen to lie in the failure to measure the practicesof the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to those of other States bothin the world generally and in the region in particular.
23. There was also frequent reference to what was viewed as the politicizationof the decision-making process in the Commission on Human Rights to thepoint, it was said, that it mattered more who a State's friends and allieswere than the nature and seriousness of the alleged practices. In otherwords, double standards were widespread.
24. Another theme was the uniqueness of the Iranian revolution and thedominant role of religion in the Islamic Republic of Iran's system of governance.Frequent reference was made to the need to judge the Islamic Republic ofIran and by extension, other States, in the context of their own culture.
25. On one occasion, the argument was put that the special procedures mechanismwas intended to respond to gross and systematic violations of human rightsand that while there might well be "irregularities" in the caseof the Islamic Republic of Iran, they were hardly of a gross and systematicnature.
26. The Special Representative did not believe it was his place to do otherthan take note of those views, which are of course not new. On occasion,however, he did suggest to his counterparts that, in his opinion, nationaland international efforts for recognition and enforcement of human rightswere continuing around the world and he was unaware of any State that wasnot under some degree of criticism in this regard.
II. LEGAL SYSTEM
27. The legal, judicial and correctional services in any society usuallyoffer a revealing look at the value placed upon human rights by the Governmentof the State concerned. The Special Representative attaches much importanceto this dimension of his inquiries in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A. Rights of an accused
28. One commonly accepted right is to be charged or released withina minimum period. This is viewed as an important constraint on a State'suse of arbitrary detention. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, there continueto be reports of prolonged pretrial detention, indeed seven years in onehigh profile case now before the courts (see paras. 34 and 35 below).
29. The right to be represented by a lawyer of the accused's choice isalso viewed as essential:
(a) In the pretrial phase in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the right toa lawyer seems quite vague (see para. 52 below);
(b) The Special Representative is informed that a 1992 Act of the Majlisset out the right to a lawyer at the trial phase. An accused may choosenot to have one. However, all serious charges with the possibility of thedeath penalty require a lawyer, if not chosen by the accused then appointedby the Court. One person interviewed by the Special Representative saidhe had become aware of his court-appointed lawyer only at the end of histrial. Another person thought his court-appointed lawyer had done his bestin difficult circumstances. The Special Representative was told there aredeath sentences that have been overturned by the Supreme Court on the groundsthat the accused did not have a lawyer. Several senior officials, includingAyatollah Yazdi, denied the Special Representative's understanding basedon a widely quoted statement by the Prosecutor General, Rabani-Amlashi,on 9 March 1982, that lawyers would be allowed to speak only to sentencing.However, there continue to be reports that, for example, Baha'is are inpractice frequently denied legal representation because Baha'i lawyershave been deregistered and most Muslim lawyers fear to accept a Baha'iclient. Furthermore, based on information provided by Ayatollah Yazdi,it appears that in some of the specialized courts such as the clericalcourts, the right to a lawyer of the accused's choice is sharply curtailedby being limited to a choice from a limited group of lawyers approved topractice before that court;
(c) Finally, there are questions about the significance of the role a lawyercan play inside the court room. It has been alleged that, in some courts,particularly the revolutionary courts, some judges take on the roles ofprosecution and defence as well. Certainly in the revolutionary court casethat the Special Representative observed for about 45 minutes, the judgeplayed a much more active role and the lawyers a more passive role thanin any trial the Special Representative has attended elsewhere. Indeed,the Special Representative was left with the impression that the judgewas clearly not a neutral third party between the prosecution and the defence.
B. Court system
30. There appear to be many judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals inthe Islamic Republic of Iran. The Special Representative was able to meetwith the chief judge of the Tehran District Revolutionary Courts, the chiefjudge of the Tehran Justice Department (i.e. the General Courts for theTehran District), the Minister of Justice and the Chief of the AdministrativeTribunal. The President of the Supreme Court was unable to meet as scheduled.
31. Mr. Rahbar Poor, head of the Revolutionary Courts of the Tehran District,explained that those courts had been established originally to study casesof persons who had violated human rights under the previous regime. Theirjurisdiction had later been extended to terrorist groups in order to protectthe human rights of the people. In 1995, there had been a new law definingthe jurisdiction as drugs, espionage, smuggling and economic terrorism.Mr. Rahbar Poor said the procedure followed in the Revolutionary Courtwas at present no different from that in the General Courts. There wasa right to a lawyer and a right of appeal and any sentence over 10 yearswas automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court.
32. The Special Representative asked about the continuation of the RevolutionaryCourts so long after the revolution and about the debate in the Majlisabout making them permanent. He was told there had indeed been a debateand, in the end, provided that those courts should have the same legalprocess as the General Courts, their maintenance had been approved. TheSpecial Representative questioned what was inherent in the offences inquestion that made them more appropriate for the Revolutionary Courts thanthe General Courts. The answer was that the competence of the RevolutionaryCourts was really quite limited, that they were comparable to the militarycourts under the previous regime and that, with crime becoming more specialized,there existed a need for specialized tribunals such as those that existedfor family and military matters. The Special Representative remains tobe persuaded that the Revolutionary Courts are just one among many tribunalsand that the processes are indeed in practice the same as those in theGeneral Courts.
33. The Special Representative spent about 45 minutes attending a currenttrial, over which Mr. Rahbar Poor was presiding. This was the fourth sessionof the trial, which had been prominently covered in the Tehran press. Thecharges concerned embezzlement, bribery, smuggling and other activitiespresented as an intricate network of illegal activity linked to zionism.The purpose of the session appeared to be to give the defendants a chanceto respond to the allegations. In the time the Special Representative waspresent, three of the defendants were heard as well as several of the lawyersand experts. There were lively exchanges between those defendants who spokeand the judge, apparently over the appropriateness of their respectivelines of defence, which, among other things, included shifting blame amongeach other. In the course of this dialogue, the judge noted that therehad already been private sessions and that there could be more. He statedthat matters affecting "public morality" should not be broughtup in open court.
34. On another occasion, the Special Representative had a two-hour discussionwith Mr. Ali Razini, the Chief of the Tehran Justice Department, i.e. theGeneral Courts for the Tehran District. Mr. Razini said his courts heardabout 50,000 cases a month in 14 centres across Tehran District. His courthad broad competence; the other tribunals were limited to exceptional competences.There had been a recent change in procedure that affected mainly the pretrialphase. The investigating judge function now came under the responsibilityof the trial judge rather than the prosecutor's office. The purpose wasto simplify the process and shorten the time. Previously, the pretrialphase had sometimes lasted up to 10 years and, in some cases, persons hadbeen kept in detention for over a year before being released without chargesbeing formulated. The Special Representative would note that the presshas reported criticism of the recent changes.
35. In response to questions, Mr. Razini said it was true that in the earlydays there was no right of appeal. Today, there was no limit on appeals."I know of no case of a murder conviction not being appealed."With regard to the right to a lawyer, Mr. Razini said, "It is a rightof an accused, not only of a condemned man." The Special Representativequestioned the concept of "economic sabotage or terrorism" asdistinct from commercial crime. Mr. Razini said that intent was the keyfactor in determining which court would hear the case. He acknowledgedthat intent was difficult to establish with certainty, adding that theaccused would get the benefit of the doubt and, in any event, he couldappeal the matter of competence. He said that there were few cases of economicterrorism, perhaps only 10 at the present time. They typically involvedcrimes like counterfeiting or embezzlement where substantial amounts wereinvolved and which took place in time of war or where enemies of the Statewere involved. The Special Representative believes further inquiry intothis matter is warranted.
C. Selection and training of judges
36. The Special Representative also met with the Minister of Justice,Mr. Esmail Shushtari. He described a problem that had existed formerly:the interference by the executive and the legislature in the administrationof justice. That had changed and there were now no instances of such interference.
37. The primary problem for the Ministry now was the recruitment and trainingof judges. There was a need to recruit 600 judges within two years, of
whom 200 were to be women and 400 secular men. At the moment there wereabout 4,000 judges, about 800 of whom were clerics and 300 women.
38. He explained the training process in some detail. The qualificationswere either a four-year university degree in law, or religious studiesand jurisprudence, or nine years of training at a religious school. Theentrance exam looked for a logical mind and manner of expression. The acceptedcandidates went through a one-year training programme with theoreticaland practical stages. The failure rate was 2 to 3 per cent. Once appointed,judges worked their way up through eight steps. There was a promotion boardchaired by the Chief of the Judiciary. Generally, one spent four yearsin the first step as a minimum and three years in each subsequent step.In some exceptional cases (less than 10 per cent), there was a direct appointmentto a tribunal of an individual who had not gone through all the precedingstages. There was some continuing education for judges but, because ofthe shortage of judges, only about five could be released for that purposeeach year. Judicial discipline was the responsibility of the Judges' DisciplinaryTribunal. The judges were themselves judges of a rank superior to thatof the person charged.
39. The Special Representative notes that, in addition to the tribunalreferred to in the preceding paragraph, a superior tribunal was establishedin 1991: the High Tribunal for Judicial Discipline. The head of the judiciaryis reportedly able to recommend dismissal on the basis of "religiousconsiderations". The Special Representative believes that furtherinquiry into this subject of judicial discipline is warranted in the contextof judicial independence.
40. The Special Representative understands that some but not all clericaljudges are university graduates in law. He notes that in the past personswith minimum experience and sometimes little formal education were reportedlyappointed as judges. The Special Representative believes it important thatjudges be recruited solely on the basis of their professional experienceand competence. With regard to female judges, the Special Representativenoted critical comments in the press that in last year's competitive examinationfor 50 female judges, there was no published list of applicants to be interviewedbut only the names of the 18 persons eventually chosen. The official concernedin the Ministry was quoted as saying that acceptance depended on obtainingthe required mark in the examination.
D. Clerical courts
41. In his interview with Ayatollah Yazdi, the head of the Judiciary,the Special Representative sought information about the clerics court,a tribunal in the spotlight recently because of certain high-profile defendantsthere. Ayatollah Yazdi said there were only 15 or 16 cases before thatcourt at any given time in the country as a whole. On the question of competence,he said that the clerical courts only heard charges relating to the dischargeof clerical responsibilities but that there might in addition be "incidental"or non-clerical dimensions. As those cases often involved "the prestige"of the clergy, the court was not open to the media nor were the decisionsmade public. The same conditions applied to the military courts. As tothe right to have a lawyer, as reported above, he said the accused hadthe right to choose from a limited group of approved lawyers. The SpecialRepresentative's understanding is that this tribunal was established in1987 and became active after 1989. In the only recent case brought to hisattention, a cleric and member of the Majlis was reported by the pressin February 1995 to have been sentenced to 30 lashes and a year in prisonfor taking bribes. The Special Representative would like to examine moreclosely the workings of this and other special tribunals.
42. On the matter of the newly confirmed Ta'azirat punishments, whichhave drawn adverse comments outside the Islamic Republic of Iran, AyatollahYazdi said many conditions have to be met before these punishments canbe carried out. For example, in his five or six years in office, he hadknown of only two or three proposals for amputation. Ayatollah Yazdi saidhe had authority to intervene and press the complainant to settle the matter(i.e. on the basis of blood money) and he frequently did so. The SpecialRepresentative reiterated to Ayatollah Yazdi the request he had put earlierfor detailed statistics on a national basis for the carrying out of judgementsinvolving amputations and stoning.
43. The Special Representative's predecessor commented more than once onthe number of judicial executions and the fact that their use greatly exceededthe very restricted terms of the Covenant. On this visit, the Special Representativepressed in writing and orally for firm numbers on death sentences carriedout for drug offences and for all other offences. On at least one occasion,he referred to a widely quoted story in the official Chinese news agencyin November 1995 that a senior Iranian official had advised his Chinesehosts that, since 1989, some 4,000 persons had been executed for drug offencesin the Islamic Republic of Iran.
44. The Special Representative is informed that, under Iranian legislation,specifically the law of Hodoud and Qesas and the Ta'azirat, sometimes describedcollectively as the Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran,the death penalty may be applied for the following offences: spreadingcorruption on Earth (mofsed); assassination; armed robbery; kidnapping;rape; adultery or incest, sexual relations by force or coercion and bya non-Muslim man with a Muslim woman; sodomy; apostasy; drug-traffickingand the use of arms to create fear and intimidation among the people ordepriving them of their freedom and security. In addition, the law of retributorypunishment establishes that a premeditated murder involves retributionand that the heirs of the murdered person may put the murderer to deathwith due observance of the conditions established by law. Premeditatedmurder and mayhem or inflicting of injury to a limb are also punishableby retribution.
45. On 28 November 1995, the Majlis adopted a new law of Islamic punishmentswhich establishes that the death penalty may be applied to the followingadditional crimes: attempts against the security of the State; outrageagainst Iranian high-ranking officials and insults against the memory ofImam Khomeini and against the Leader of the Islamic Republic.
46. According to information published in the Iranian and the internationalpress, at least 50 persons were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iranduring 1995. Fifteen executions took place in public. Thirty-eight personswere hanged and one person was stoned to death. Another person was executedafter receiving 80 lashes. The cases reported in the Iranian and internationalpress are reproduced in annex V.
47. The Special Representative requested the Government to provide officialinformation on the number of executions that had been carried out sincethe beginning of the Iranian year 1373. The Human Rights Department ofthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised that, in Tehran Province, 30 personshad been executed on drug-trafficking charges since the beginning of theIranian year 1374 (21 March 1995). In terms of the Gregorian calendar,35 persons were executed during 1995 in Tehran Province on charges of drug-trafficking.
48. During his meeting with the head of the Courts of Justice of TehranProvince, Judge Razini, the Special Representative was informed that deathsentences must be reviewed by the Supreme Court. In trials relating toserious offences potentially involving the death penalty, the presenceof a defence lawyer is compulsory. According to Ayatollah Yazdi, severalconditions must be fulfilled to condemn a person to death. In cases ofretribution, the relatives of the victim may require financial compensationor equal punishment. In many cases, the head of the Judiciary has intervenedwith the relatives to press them not to ask for equal punishment. In addition,Ayatollah Yazdi said, in an Islamic law system, all the sentences shouldbe proportional to the charges and the judges should consider in each casethree elements: the personal element (age, level of education, health,other personal particularities), the crime itself and the intention orreason for which the crime was committed.
49. The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Tehran, Judge RahbarPoor, stated that the application of the death penalty should be examinedin the context of the number of serious crimes being committed. The IslamicRepublic of Iran is a major transit country for drugs from Afghanistanand Pakistan to Turkey and Europe. Although the situation was much betterthan 10 years ago, 120,000 tons of drugs were captured during the pastIranian year. The 30 to 35 persons executed over the same period were notsimply local drug-traffickers, but members of armed international gangsengaged in international trade that constituted authentic mafias.
50. The Special Representative believes that further inquiry into the subjectof the death penalty is warranted in the context of the Covenant provisionson this subject.
F. Independent Bar Association
51. The Special Representative met with the President of the IndependentBar Association, Mr. Eftekhar Jahromi, and three deputy heads of the Association.Mr. Jahromi reported the Bar Association now has offices in Tehran, Tabrizand Shiraz. There are 2,310 registered lawyers in the area centred on Tehran,288 in the area centred on Tabriz and 216 in the area centred on Shiraz.Of the total, 234 are women. The Association runs training courses, issuespermits to practice and considers complaints against lawyers. There arecurrently 619 trainees in the three regions undergoing a year's trainingcourse. The Association does not get involved in the work of lawyers, whoare free to accept or to turn down a case. Mr. Jahromi said that the Boardof Directors of the Association would be elected every two years. Aftersome delay, the first election for the position of President was to beheld in the current year. Ayatollah Yazdi subsequently confirmed that electionswould go ahead as scheduled.
52. The Special Representative then turned to the role of lawyers, especiallyat the pretrial stage. Mr. Jahromi said a new law less than a year oldis ambiguous on this point. "You cannot say at what stage a lawyercan intervene." With regard to a case of a seven-year pretrial detention,he said that should not happen, that it would also be a violation of normaljudicial process. It would also be a violation of both legal and religiousdecrees and that the system "cannot detain a person for a long timeon the basis of suspicion alone".
53. As to the Association's major challenge, Mr. Jahromi said it was toincrease the respect of the judiciary for lawyers. The Association wouldintervene with the judiciary as appropriate cases came along.
54. The Special Representative believes that further inquiry is warrantedto determine whether the Independent Bar Association is playing a significantrole in establishing and maintaining the integrity of the legal systemin the Islamic Republic of Iran.
G. Atmosphere of the law
55. It would seem that a number of new laws have been enacted or oldones revised in recent years that affect the nature of the legal processin the Islamic Republic Iran. It also seems that some relevant provisionsof the Constitution are perhaps now being actively implemented. On theother hand, there continue to be press references to senior personagesengaging in public incitement to take extrajudicial action for exampleagainst "corruption", such as that attributed to Ayatollah Janatiat a Tehran University prayers sermon in August 1995. And there seem tobe groups, most notably the hezbollah, who are prepared to respond to suchincitement.
56. The Special Representative nevertheless believes he detected an atmospherefor change. One of his Iranian interlocutors preferred the term maturation.He noted that norms were now being more clearly articulated and suggestedthat that was because of a clear need for a more uniform application ofthe law. The sense of arbitrariness that the Special Representative felthe detected was not a reflection of a concern over the security situationbut of the strongly held view that Islamic theory required a highly independentjudiciary.
57. In the Special Representative's opinion it is too soon to say thata fully defined legal system, with a truly independent judiciary, truerespect for the rights of individuals, particularly at the pretrial phase,and other hallmarks of a credible legal system are in place.
III. STATUS OF WOMEN
58. The position of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran received muchinternational press attention in the context of the Beijing women's conferencein September 1995. The dialogue there continued the discussion that hasbeen going on for some years about the status of women in Muslim countriesand, in particular, in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a multifaceteddialogue heavily infused with politics and, at least on the part of theMuslim countries, accusations of unfair international press coverage.
59. At one level, the dialogue is about secularism and religion with theargument being roughly that the West is paying a heavy price for movinginsistently down the road towards absolute secularism, particularly inthe deterioration of the social fabric of Western societies. This is notan error that the Muslim societies want to repeat and they therefore insiston maintaining certain traditional values associated with women and withthe family generally. At a second level, the dialogue is about whetherthe status of women in developing countries is a product of traditionalculture and religion, or whether it is the result of poverty and illiteracygenerally in these societies. At a third level, the debate is about thequite different status of culture or custom-based norms on the one handand religion-based norms on the other. It is argued that, while the latterare incontrovertible, the former can and are being changed. At a fourthlevel, the debate is about two different concepts: equality versus equity.Some Muslim women, in this case Iranian women, deny attempts to "similarize"women with men in all dimensions, in other words to create "identicality"of rights and obligations between men and women. They argue that the Islamicsystem reflects, or at least is intended to reflect, the fact that menand women are equal in creation and in human value, and that they shouldbe regarded as two beings at the same level of understanding and cognition.Consequently, they bear a comparable weight of responsibilities and enjoycomparable benefits although in different spheres of life.
60. The debate in all its complexity, and no doubt with a considerablemeasure of misunderstanding, will go on for some time to come. For thisreason the Special Representative would simply take note of the resultsof the 1995 Beijing Conference in the form of the Platform for Action thatwas adopted unanimously (A/CONF.177/20).
61. However, the Special Representative believes it important to note thatthere seem to be some areas where an improvement of the status of womenin the Islamic Republic of Iran is actively being discussed, if not necessarilyat the level of government policy. One of these concerns the restrictionson the social activities of women and on their travel. One women's groupin the Islamic Republic of Iran has said openly that such provisions implythat women cannot accept social obligations and responsibilities. The samegroup acknowledges that there exist some widespread interpretations inthe Islamic world that tend to extend the limits, for example of a wife'sobligation to obey her husband, to the point of absolute compliance. Ina third area, that of temporary marriage, the same group has noted thegender-biased social and religious misinterpretations that exist. It wouldseem then that change might well come to pass in these areas without beingviewed as infringements on religious precepts.
62. On the other hand, there are a number of areas in which religion ratherthan custom or culture are said to prevail, such as the Islamic coveringor dress for women and inheritance. However, the Special Representativehas been told that even in the former there could be room for accommodationbased on the fact that there were traditionally in the Islamic Republicof Iran many types of Islamic covering or dress, which varied accordingto the custom of the particular region, and that, as between types, thereshould not be an argument based on religion. Another interlocutor, a prominentwoman, said that there were those who put women under pressure in thatregard but that, while she herself wore the chador, in her view women shouldbe left free to choose the type of covering or dress they wanted.
63. The Special Representative inquired about Iranian nationality law,and in particular about the fact that foreign women, on marrying an Iraniannational, reportedly automatically acquire Iranian citizenship, but thatthe same does not apply when a foreign man marries an Iranian woman. Oneof the Special Representative's interlocutors, a woman holding a seniorif non-governmental position, expressed surprise saying that in her viewMuslim women were indeed free to choose or reject a nationality. Anotherinterlocutor, also in a non-governmental position, suggested that the problemof change in those areas, such as the requirement for a husband to signhis wife's passport application, reflected a need to educate members ofthe Majlis and other political elites on such inequities. This seems tobe borne out by reports that, several years ago, the Majlis turned downa proposal to allow unmarried female students to go abroad for furtherstudies.
64. The Special Representative believes that the status of women in theIslamic Republic of Iran is indeed not equal to that of men in very manyways. Nevertheless, according to his interlocutors, in some areas at least,significant progress could be made without touching upon Islamic precepts.However, leadership for such change will have to come from political elitesand progress in this direction should be monitored.
IV. THE FATWA AGAINST SALMAN RUSHDIE
65. The Special Representative notes the widespread condemnation of thefatwa issued in 1989 against the British writer Salman Rushdie. He alsonotes that over the past year there have been contradictory signals onthis subject from various authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran.In this context, he doubts the meaningfulness of statements to the effectthat, although the fatwa remains in effect, no order has been given tocarry it out.
66. During his visit, the Special Representative raised the matter of thefatwa with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ali Akbar Velayati. TheSpecial Representative was told that negotiations on an exchange of lettersbetween the Islamic Republic of Iran and the European Union had made muchprogress and that the Iranian side wanted to conclude this exchange assoon as possible. Separate inquiries by the Special Representative duringhis visit to Tehran suggested there were still matters of substance separatingthe two sides.
67. The Special Representative wishes to record his own condemnation ofthe threat upon the life of Mr. Rushdie; he shares the view of those whojudge the fatwa and the offered reward as an incitement to murder. He doesnot accept the argument that, if Mr. Rushdie is acknowledged to have aright of free speech in these circumstances, then so too do those who condemnhim to death.
V. SITUATION OF THE BAHA'IS
68. The Special Representative has read the report of the Special Rapporteuron the question of religious intolerance on his recent visit to the IslamicRepublic of Iran (E/CN.4/1996/95/Add.2) and wishes to associate himselfwith the conclusions and recommendations contained therein concerning thenon-recognized minorities and the Baha'is in particular.
69. The only additional argument put to the Special Representative by hisIranian official interlocutors was that the Baha'is in the Islamic Republicof Iran were attempting to achieve de facto status as a recognized minorityby such actions, it was implied, as completing the religion section onvarious government forms, including passport applications. It was suggestedthat to respond to such a question with the name of an unrecognized religionwas attempting to obtain constitutional recognition for that religion.The Special Representative does not accept this reasoning.
70. During his visit to Evin prison in Tehran, the Special Representativerequested private meetings with Mr. Kayvan Khalajabadi and Mr. Bihnam Mithaqi,two members of the Baha'i community who were arrested in April 1989 andsentenced to death on 8 December 1993 by the Islamic Revolutionary Courtof Tehran. The Special Representative was granted access to these personsand spent 30 minutes with each in private. They each said the conditionsin Evin prison had improved somewhat recently. Both sentences were beingappealed to the Supreme Court. Decisions had been pending since February1994 (see paras. 97 and 98 below).
71. The Special Representative also requested information from the Iranianauthorities on the situation of Mr. Dhabihu'llah Mahrami, son of Ghumalrida,a Baha'i born in the Iranian year of 1325, sentenced to death on 2 January1996 on charges of apostasy by Branch No. 1 of the Revolutionary Courtof Yazd. On 19 February 1996, the Human Rights Department of the Ministryof Foreign Affairs informed the Special Representative that the SupremeCourt of Justice had not confirmed the death sentence, had rejected theverdict and had referred the case to a competent court in Yazd for reconsideration.The Supreme Court cited the Revolutionary Court's lack of competence tohear this case.
72. The Special Representative notes that Baha'is apparently continue toface discrimination in the Iranian court system. In one case brought tohis attention dated 14 September 1995 in Yazd, an application by a widowerand children for succession rights to a deceased's property was refusedon the grounds that the deceased as well as the husband and children wereBaha'is. The property was confiscated for the benefit of a government-relatedtrust. In another case of May 1995, a court in Shahr-i-Ray was faced withan application by the next-of-kin of a person killed and a second personinjured in a motor-cycle accident. On the basis of the confessions of theaccused and other evidence, the crime of manslaughter and the crime ofunpremeditated injury were found to be proven against the defendants, butthe request for "blood money" was denied on the grounds thatthe deceased as well as the injured and the next-of-kin were Baha'is. Onedefendant was sentenced to pay 400,000 rials and a second to pay 100,000rials to a government fund.
73. With regard to discrimination in employment, a letter was brought tothe Special Representative's attention dated 11 January 1995 from the Universityof Medical Sciences and Health-Care Services in the province of Khuzistan,denying reinstatement to a Baha'i who had been earlier dismissed from hisposition as a nurse's aide, unless he renounced the Baha'i religion ina "widely distributed newspaper".
74. On 12 February 1996, the Special Representative discussed with threemembers of the Baha'i community in Tehran issues of continuing concernsuch as confiscation of properties belonging to Baha'is in the city ofYazd, obtaining passports to make visits outside the Islamic Republic ofIran, payment of pensions to retired Baha'is, access to higher educationand the right to inheritance. Particular concern was expressed with regardto the right of the Baha'i community to maintain its administrative institutions.
75. Overall, while there appears to be some improvement in the lot of theBaha'is in the Islamic Republic of Iran, there continue to be grave breachesof human rights, which in the Special Representative's view are only likelyto disappear with a significant change of attitude on the part of the Iranianauthorities.
VI. FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA
76. As the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression has very recentlyvisited the Islamic Republic of Iran and is submitting a report to theCommission at its fifty-second session (E/CN.4/1996/39/Add.2), the SpecialRepresentative has chosen to place his emphasis on other sectors. However,very recently, two court cases involving press freedom came to the foreand were the subject of a number of representations to the Special Representativebefore his arrival in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
77. These involve two periodicals, Gardoon in Tehran and Tousin Mashhad. Although the publications are reportedly somewhat different,the issue presented was essentially the same: the trial, sentencing andpunishment of the publishers/editors over the content of articles appearingin the journal. This process can be, and in those cases was, initiatedby a complaint by members of the public. A hearing and conviction by juryfollowed. The final stage, the sentencing by the judge, might include aperiod of incarceration, a lashing and a suspension of the publication.The Special Representative was told that such convictions and the subsequentsentences are subject to appeal. Both publications have suspended publication.In the case of Tous, there has been a conviction but, as of thedate of the Special Representative's visit, no sentencing. In the caseof Gardoon, there has been a conviction and the publisher/editorhas been sentenced to 35 lashes and 6 months in jail. The charges werepublication of lies, contempt and "propagation of wicked deeds".
78. During his call on Vice-Minister Ashari of the Ministry of IslamicGuidance and Culture, the Special Representative inquired about the caseof the publisher/editor of Gardoon, Mr. Abbas Maroufi. Earlier inthe conversation Mr. Ashari had said that "we regard it as our functionto protect the rights of the press. Today there is a great freedom of thepress in the Islamic Republic of Iran but if a person feels insulted hecan bring the publisher/editor before a jury in the Press Tribunal. Thisjury is the personification of the culture of the society".
79. Mr. Ashari said that in the case of Gardoon there had been manycomplaints and that the jury had found it responsible for the publishedmaterial. Mr. Ashari was a member of the jury. He said that he did notagree with the sentence and showed the Special Representative a newspaperarticle quoting him as saying that the sentence was not right and that"it is below the dignity of the press".
80. The Special Representative subsequently met with Mr. Maroufi. Gardoonhas been published for about six years. It is an 80-page literary journalappearing every 2 months with a circulation claimed to be about 20,000.The audience consists mainly of intellectuals. It receives no assistancefrom the Government and, in particular, no allocation of subsidized printingpaper. However, it faces no direct censorship.
81. Gardoon has had run-ins with the authorities before. In 1992a cover illustration of the August edition was criticized as being offensiveand in October the magazine was banned by order of the Revolutionary Court.Mr. Maroufi was charged with a variety of offences, of which he was subsequentlyfound not guilty in a one-day trial in December the same year. Two yearslater, Gardoon carried an article in which the sentence appeared,"the task of intellectuals is not only to oppose ... but also to promotecritical thought". A group of people, including other journalists,complained. Mr. Maroufi was questioned but the matter quietened down. Recentlythere had been new complaints by 11 persons representing themselves, falselyin Mr. Maroufi's view, as the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
82. Mr. Maroufi complained about the jury process, both its composition(including judges and senior officials such as Vice-Minister Ashari) andthe fact that in his case its membership had changed three times sincehis latest troubles had begun.
83. Mr. Maroufi pointed out that the Constitution allows for criticism.He always has his articles reviewed by two lawyers before publication.He believes he has done nothing wrong but is the victim of the current"mood" (javv). Nine of his own books have been held upin the Ministry awaiting approval for publication.
84. Mr. Maroufi said he had been in the publishing/editing business for20 years. "All my existence has been put into the creation of a literaryjournal ... My objective is to encourage writers of this country".
85. The Special Representative understands the Press Tribunal to be unusualin its use of a jury. Some senior officials described the jury featureas "a privilege", that is to say, that the guilt or innocencewould be determined by persons other than a judge. The Special Representativedoes not have an understanding of the dynamics of the process and, in particular,it is far from clear whether what might be called legal standards as toguilt or innocence are applied by the jury. The Special Representativeconsiders that punishing the press in such circumstances requires a balancingof the interests of the complainants on the one hand and the interestsof the community in upholding the right to publish criticism on the other.The Special Representative sees no role for either imprisonment or corporalpunishment in such circumstances.
VII. INFORMATION ON PRISONERS
86. During his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Special Representativerequested information on the situation of the following prisoners condemnedto death, including in particular the accused's right of appeal:
(a) Dhabihu'llah Mahrami, son of Ghulamrida, born in the Iranianyear of 1325, a Baha'i, sentenced to death on 2 January 1996 on chargesof apostasy by a Revolutionary Court in the city of Yazd. Following theSpecial Representative's request for information about this case, he wasinformed by the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,on 19 February 1996, that the Supreme Court had rejected the verdict andreferred the case to a competent court in Yazd for reconsideration (seepara. 71 above);
(b) Rahman Radjabi Hamvand, aged 28, a member of the DemocraticParty of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), detained in the prison of Darya in thecity of Orumiyeh, sentenced to death in October 1995. Following the SpecialRepresentative's request for information about this case, he was informedby the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to theUnited Nations Office at Geneva, by letter dated 29 February 1996, thatthe Supreme Court had confirmed the death sentence. Nevertheless, thisperson could appeal for amnesty, in which case the Amnesty Council willreview his request. This person had been convicted on charges of murder,plunder and brigandage, being an active member of an armed terrorist group,participating in assassination of civilians and terrorizing people in Kurdistanprovince, according to the information provided to the Special Representativeon 15 February 1996 by Mr. Rahbar Poor, head of the Revolutionary Courtsof Tehran, and by the Permanent Representative;
(c) Ali Madad-Karami, condemned to death by a Revolutionary Courtin Kermanshah. Mr. Rahbar Poor, head of the Revolutionary Courts of Tehran,advised the Special Representative orally on 15 February 1996 that thisperson had taken part in an attack of a village in Iranian Kurdistan. Hehad received military training in Iraq in operations of sabotage and actsof terrorism;
(d) Seyyed Mohammad Mehdi Abbas Zadeh, Kazem Afkhami Moghadam-Tabriziand Djalil Shoughi Khatibi, three persons reportedly arrested in 1992and condemned to death by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on charges ofspying for a foreign country. Mr. Rahbar Poor informed the Special Representativeorally, on 15 February 1996, that the death sentences against these threepersons had not yet been confirmed by the Supreme Court, which was studyingtheir appeals. He noted that they were agents of the Central IntelligenceAgency (CIA) of the United States. If the death sentences were confirmedby the Supreme Court, they would be able to request commutation of theirsentences, pardon or clemency;
(e) Sohrab Husseini, reportedly charged by a Revolutionary Courtin Kermanshah with spying for a foreign country and sentenced to death.Mr. Rahbar Poor informed the Special Representative orally, on 15 February1996, that this person was charged by a Revolutionary Court in Kermanshahwith spying for a foreign country and taking part in armed operations inthe Islamic Republic of Iran;
(f) Clerics. The Special Representative requested the Human RightsDepartment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide information onthe following clerics who had been arrested over recent months: HodjatoleslamSheik Mohammad Taghi, aged 45, arrested on 8 February 1996; Seyyed AbdulrasoulMousavi, aged 45, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Tehran; Mohammad AliMa'ash, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qom; Hodjatoleslam Talib Salehi,aged 40, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qom; Ahmad Akhound; Taghi Akhound,aged 33, son of Bagher, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Tehran; Hadi Akhound,aged 29, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Tehran; Ayatollah Seyyed MortezaShirazi, son of Seyyed Mohammad, aged 32, arrested on 21 November 1995in Qom; Hodjatoleslam Sheik Mohamed Fazel Saffar, aged 33, arrested on11 November 1995; Hodjatoleslam Sheikh Abdul Rahman Delavarian (Haeri),aged 32, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qom; Hodjatoleslam Seyyed AbbasMousavi, aged 30, arrested on 11 November 1995; Hodjatoleslam Sheik FoadFujian, aged 33, arrested on 11 November 1995 in Tehran; HodjatoleslamSheik Saleh Hedayati, aged 29, arrested on 17 October 1995; HodjatoleslamSheik Djafar Ghani (Haeri), aged 32, arrested in October 1995; HodjatoleslamSheik Maki, aged 32, arrested in March 1995; Hadj Mohammad Ghafari, aged42, arrested on 11 November 1995; and Hodjatoleslam Hadi Zakeri, aged 29,single, arrested on 11 November 1995.
87. On 28 February 1996, the Human Rights Department of the Ministry ofForeign Affairs provided a response, which is set out in annex VII. TheSpecial Representative believes the progress of these cases should be monitored.
88. Milton Meier. The Special Representative also requested informationon the situation of a foreigner, Mr. Milton Meier, a person who has reportedlyalready completed his prison term and yet had again been detained.
VIII. VISIT TO EVIN PRISON IN TEHRAN
89. The Special Representative visited Tehran's Evin prison on 13 February1996. He was received by Mr. A. Lajevardi, the Director of the PrisonsOrganization of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Lajevardi handed theSpecial Representative a long document in English entitled "The by-lawsand regulation of the security and educational procedures of the prisonsorganization of the Islamic Republic of Iran". He stated that themain objectives of the prison system was to reform and educate the inmates,giving the prisoners the possibility to study different subjects and towork in several workshops; rehabilitation; improving the personality ofinmates; and improving literary skills.
90. According to the Director of the Prisons Organization, after the first24 hours, detainees must be turned over to his Organization. Inmates havethe right to receive visits from their relatives and lawyers. If the prisonerhas a satisfactory record, he or she may apply for private visits of hisor her spouse. All the prisoners have the right to leave the prison forperiods from a minimum of three days in six months to three days in onemonth. Every morning there is a two-hour sports period in which the prisonerscan participate on a voluntary basis. Prison work is also voluntary andremunerated.
91. The Special Representative inquired about the use of the United NationsStandard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Offenders. The Director didnot seem to be aware of the document but later it was explained that theProsecutor's Office had organized several courses and seminars on the applicationof the Standard Minimum Rules. It was added that "regrettably",it was the staff of the Prosecutor's Office and not the staff of the PrisonsOrganization who participated in periodic meetings organized by the UnitedNations.
92. Mr. Lajevardi stated that the prison population was largely literateas a result of the education programmes. Medical services were available;the inmates were regularly vaccinated.
93. The main problem the Prisons Organization faced was the age of thebuildings of some prisons. Mr. Lajevardi stated that that would be solvedduring the implementation of the second reconstruction plan of the country.Lastly, he made reference to an experimental project in Mashhad, accordingto which prisoners were not separated on the basis of whether there wasa conviction or according to the nature of the offences committed, buton the basis of their personality traits.
94. As of January 1995, the Prisons Organization was responsible for 98,000inmates across the country.
95. In response to several questions by the Special Representative, Mr.Lajevardi further stated that, in large prisons, the prisoners in pretrialdetention were separated from those already convicted, although they couldparticipate together in study, work and sports activities. From 11 to 12per cent of the prison's population were recidivists. Indeterminate sentencingwas not used in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Re-education programmes andreligious instruction had a very positive effect, particularly on habitualsexual offenders.
96. After his meeting with Mr. Lajevardi, the Special Representative visitedvarious workshops, including one for carpet designing and another for weaving.At the carpet-designing workshop, three women were working, one of themaccompanied by her two-year old baby. At the weaving area, around 30 womenwere working in conditions of cleanliness but of some overcrowding andinsufficient ventilation. In response to a question, the Special Representativewas told that most women prisoners were there for drug offences.
97. The Special Representative requested the prison authorities to arrangefor private meetings with the following prisoners:
(a) Kayvan Khalajabadi and Bihnam Mithaqi, two members of the Baha'icommunity who were arrested in Karaj on 29 April 1989 and sentenced todeath on 8 December 1993 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran (seepara. 70 above);
(b) Ahmed Bakhtiari, born in 1955 in Sari, an agricultural engineerand a member of the People's Fedaian Organization of Iran (Minority). Hewas reportedly arrested on 16 February 1992 on charges of active membershipin a terrorist group, participation in terrorist operations, armed bankrobbery, illegal possession of arms and munitions and involvement in theaborted murder of a clergyman in Sari. He had been sentenced to death bythe Fifth Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on 30 March 1994.The Supreme Court had confirmed the sentence. However, following a requestfrom the accused, the case had been referred to the Amnesty Council;
(c) Bahram Jafari-Dinani, born in 1952, arrested in 1988 and sentencedto 15 years' imprisonment on political charges;
(d) Reza Jafari, a Protestant Christian pastor born on 3 June 1939in Tehran, arrested on 28 September 1995 in Tehran on charges of espionage;
(e) Hedayatollah Zendehdel, son of Rahim, a Jewish businessman whoconverted to Islam, arrested on charges of economic sabotage, espionageand trying to overthrow the Government;
(f) Abbas Amir-Entezam, son of Ya'Qoub, former Deputy Prime Ministerof the Provisional Government of Iran in 1979, sentenced in 1980 to lifeimprisonment on charges of espionage.
98. The Special Representative was able to hold private meetings, withoutthe presence of prison officers, with Kayvan Khalajabadi, Bihnam Mithaqiand Ahmed Bakhtari. He was also able to meet with Abbas Amir-Entezam whohad been released to a security house (see para. 101 below). The SpecialRepresentative also met with Mohammad Reza Jafari, a prisoner who was obviouslynot Reza Jafari, the Christian Protestant pastor. The prison authoritiessaid they could not identify Reza Jafari and Bahram Jafari-Dinani, andasked the Special Representative to provide further details for identification,such as their father's names, place and date of birth, identity card numbers,former addresses, etc. The Iranian authorities were unable to arrange fora meeting with Mr. Zendehdel although the Special Representative couldobserve Mr. Zendehdel at a distance in a court room (see paras. 29 (c)and 33 above).
99. All the prisoners interviewed appeared to be in satisfactory health,both physical and psychological. However, one was suffering from seriousdental problems. All of them appeared in gray-green uniforms in good condition.They said that the use of the uniform was mandatory only to go before thecourts.
100. The prisoners stated that the situation in Evin and the treatmentof prisoners had improved somewhat over the past two years. Food was ingeneral terms good, although insufficient in protein and calories. Theprisoners could buy additional food. Medical care was, in general terms,also adequate. The prison had a central library and the relatives couldprovide the prisoners with books, although they must be approved by prisonauthorities and were restricted in the range of subjects. They also statedthat they could have family visits once a week, which took place througha glass partition with telephone sets.
101. Outside Evin prison, the Special Representative was able to hold aprivate meeting with Abbas Amir-Entezam, who the Iranian authorities saidwas now released. In fact, he was on a three-day leave from a securityhouse. In that facility he has a room of 3 metres by 3 metres and his ownradio set. He has the right to buy his own food.
102. Mr. Amir-Entezam complained that, during his trial, his request fora jury and for a defence lawyer were rejected by the court. After his trial,he spent 550 days in solitary confinement in Evin prison. Later, he spent160 days in an individual cell measuring 1.2 by 1.2 metres. During thefollowing two and a half years, he saw his wife three times a year. Hehad the right to take a shower lasting one minute and eleven seconds everyday. At that time, food in Evin prison was very bad. He suffered threethreats of immediate execution, the application of drugs and vomitivesand had to have surgery, at his expense, eleven times in hospital. Duringthe first four years in Evin prison, he was not allowed to have pens, readingmaterial or notebooks.
103. According to Mr. Amir-Entezam, 1,100 political prisoners had beenexecuted in Evin prison during one night at the beginning of the fall of1981, most of them members of left-wing groups. Since 1989, the situationin Evin prison had improved progressively. In 1994, he had been given theright to receive visits from his cousin every two weeks. However, he hadto live together with murderers and thieves, who frequently mocked andharassed him.
104. Mr. Amir-Entezam is now requesting a new trial, with a jury, the assistanceof a defence lawyer and the participation, as observers, of representativesof international organizations. The press had quoted Judge Rahbar Pooras saying that, if retried, Mr. Amir-Entezam would face the death penalty.Mr. Amir-Entezam said the press had refused to print his letter in response.
105. Some of the prisoners complained of reprisals for having met withthe former Special Representative during his last visit to Tehran in December1991. In particular, Mr. Amir-Entezam complained of having suffered physicalabuse to the point of having lost the hearing in his left ear.
106. By two letters dated 7 February 1996, the Permanent Representativeof the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Genevaprovided the Special Representative with information on some prisonerswhose names had been published in previous reports by the former SpecialRepresentative (see A/49/514, para. 79). The letters from the PermanentRepresentative are reproduced as annexes VIII and IX to the present report.
IX. OTHER IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OF CONCERN
A. Disappearances and deaths under suspicious circumstances
107. The Special Representative continues to receive reports concerningdisappearances and deaths under suspicious circumstances. Two recent casesare mentioned below.
108. One very recent case brought to the attention of the Special Representativeis that of a Sunni cleric, Molawi Ahamed Sayyad, aged 50, who disappearedat Bandar Abbas airport on 28 January 1996 and whose body was found ina suburb of that city on 2 February 1996. It is alleged that he was arrestedby six Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) at the airport and that he was executedwhile in Pasdaran custody. In 1990, he had been arrested and imprisonedfor five years in Bandar Abbas. Ahamed Sayyad is reportedly the fourthSunni cleric to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances in theregion since 1994. The Special Representative has requested informationon this case from the Iranian authorities.
109. The disappearance of Mr. Ahmad Mir Allaee, a well-known writer andtranslator, was also reported. His body was later found in an alley inthe city of Isfahan on 14 November 1995.
B. Violence outside the Islamic Republic of Iran
110. The Special Representative received information concerning allegedlypolitically motivated violence against Iranians outside the country. Hewas presented with statistics suggesting that such violence was continuingunabated. The Special Representative considers it appropriate to includereference to such allegations in his report even though the incidents inquestion occurred outside the Islamic Republic of Iran because, quite arguably,they are an extension of a conflict within the country that has directlyaffected the human rights of many Iranians. The Special Representativehas been informed of what is described as the disappearance and apparentkidnapping of Ali Tavassoli, aged 45, in Baku on 27 September 1995. Mr.Tavassoli is described as a businessman who was formerly active in theOrganization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority).
111. A second incident that was brought to the attention of the SpecialRepresentative were the deaths of Zahrah Rajabi (Mariam Javdan Jowkar)and Abdul Ali Moradi in Istanbul on 20 February 1996. Ms. Rajabi is describedas a senior official of the National Council of Resistance of Iran andMr. Moradi as a long-time sympathizer of the Iranian opposition. Ms. Rajabiis said to have entered Turkey on 27 January 1996 for humanitarian activitiesamong Iranian refugees in that country. It is alleged that the two wereassassinated by agents of the Government of the Islamic Republic. In responseto a request for information from the Iranian authorities, the SpecialRepresentative was advised, by letter dated 11 March 1996, that the allegationswith regard to responsibility for the deaths were denied. The responsefrom the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs isset out in Annex VI.
112. The Special Representative also received information subsequent tohis visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran that members of the KurdistanDemocratic Party of Iran (Revolutionary Leadership) had been killed bymembers of the Iranian Pasdaran in Iraqi territory:
(a) Ghafour Mehdizadeh, Ali Amini and Saddig Abdulahi, reportedlykilled on 27 December 1995 in Koya (Sendschag);
(b) Usman Ruyan and Abubaker Rahimi, reportedly killed on 30 December1995 in Arbil;
(c) Rahman Schabannajad and Ali Abdulah, reportedly killed on 2January 1996 in Suleimanya; and
(d) Cheder Mahmudi reportedly killed in November 1995 also in Suleimanya.
113. The Special Representative deplores this continuing violence and urgesall those in positions of influence to work for its cessation.
114. Elections for the Fifth Majlis were held on 8 March 1996; frompress comments, it is evident that a lively election campaign was underway for some months before that date. While political parties do not existas such in the Islamic Republic of Iran, there are a number of groups orfactions sometimes called "tendencies", all of which appear tobe fairly fluid in their membership. Few seem to have a clear statementof objectives in the sense of a political platform. Candidates have tobe approved in a multistage process presided over by the Council of Guardians.On 18 February 1996, it was announced that, after the first stage, 2,872candidates had been declared eligible from among 5,359 applicants. Laterit was reported in the press that 2,946 candidates had finally been approved,of whom 179 were women and 18 were from recognized religious minorities.There was criticism in the media over 40 per cent of the applicants beingturned down as candidates. More generally, there were letters in the pressquite critical of the election process and of the role of the Council ofGuardians. One of the major issues appeared to be the basis for approvalof the candidates and in particular whether it was necessary, indeed appropriate,for them to have to commit themselves to "Velayat-e Faqih" (absoluterule of the "jurisconsult", i.e. "one learned in the principlesand ordinances of the law"). The Secretary of the Council of Guardianswas quoted in the press on 25 January 1996 as saying that "practicalcommitment to Velayat-e Faqih is a requirement for qualification for participationin the elections". The same source was quoted as saying on 23 February1996 that one of the registered candidates had recently returned home afterliving abroad for 10 years and that such people were "necessarilynot admissible". According to the press, other candidates were barredfor earlier belonging to outlawed opposition groups, for being "semi-illiterate"or being drug addicts.
115. Fifteen persons associated with the Freedom Movement, an unregisteredbut tolerated opposition group, had applied to be candidates. Four wereapproved but, according to press reports, they withdrew when they weredenied a means to make their views known publicly.
X. HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
116. Several human rights organizations have recently been establishedin the country:
(a) The Islamic Human Rights Commission became active on 21 March 1995.A recent information statement prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsis attached as annex X.
(b) The Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is nowactive as one of the Departments of the General Directorate for InternationalSocial Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A statement about itsactivities prepared by the Ministry is attached as annex XI.
(c) In 1994 the Majlis created a Human Rights Committee composed of 13deputies. The Special Representative interviewed its principal founder,Mr. Rajaie Khorasani, who stated that the Committee's main objectives areto study the human rights situation both inside and outside the IslamicRepublic of Iran, to review all Iranian draft legislation in order to identifyincompatibilities with the Islamic Republic of Iran's international humanrights obligations and to contribute to the creation of a human rightsculture in the country. The Committee, as a functional commission of theMajlis, carries out activities such as receiving complaints on human rightsviolations; receiving declarations and statements from responsible officials;interposing its good offices when it appears necessary; expressing itsinterest in the situation of prisoners or persons in a vulnerable condition;and maintaining contacts and correspondence with similar parliamentarycommissions around the world as well as international and non-governmentalorganizations.
117. Mr. Khorasani stated that the work of the Committee had been difficultduring the first months of its existence, owing to misunderstanding insome sectors of Iranian society and the Iranian press about the role ofthe Committee as well as the basic principles of human rights. Those sectorsconsidered human rights simply as a political tool in the hands of thegreat Powers; they ignored the objective of human rights law, which wasto promote and defend the dignity of the human being. During a generaldebate in the Majlis, a parliamentarian had addressed the following wordsto the members of the Human Rights Committee: "You are speaking onbehalf of the enemies of this country". He believed it necessary toinsist on the creation of a human rights culture and on the idea that humanrights were not contrary to Islam.
118. The Special Representative believes these new organizations have considerablepotential for improving the human rights situation and he looks forwardto monitoring their progress.
XI. SITUATION OF REFUGEES
119. According to a recent UNHCR publication, the Islamic Republic of Iranis the country with the largest refugee population in the world. As of1 January 1995, it was hosting 1,623,300 Afghan refugees and 613,000 Iraqirefugees, i.e. a total of 2,236,400 refugees. During 1994, 226,700 Afghanrefugees and 2,300 Iraqi refugees decided to return to their country (UNHCR,The State of the World's Refugees 1995 - In Search of Solutions, OxfordUniversity Press, New York, 1995, pp. 249, 251-252).
120. The Special Representative was informed, during his meetings withofficials from UNHCR in Geneva and Tehran, that the majority of Afghanrefugees are scattered in a number of eastern and central provinces, includingthe Greater Tehran Region. Only a minority lives in camps, which are mainlylocated on the border with Pakistan and are provided with safe drinkingwater, electricity and additional food.
121. During 1995, the repatriation process has slowed down, owing to theintensification of the civil war in Afghanistan. Some 91,000 Afghan refugeeswere repatriated during 1995 with the assistance of the UNHCR.
122. Iraqi refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran are mostly Kurds fromthe north of Iraq and Arab Shi'ites from the southern marsh area. About63,000 live in refugee camps and the remainder are scattered in towns andvillages mainly located in the western and central provinces of the country.In the fall of 1995, the repatriation operation had to be suspended owingto incidents in Iraq. It was subsequently resumed, but at a much reducedlevel.
123. In general terms, both the Afghan and the Iraqi refugees have accessto medical services, medicines and schools. However, the Special Representativewas told that the Government of the Islamic Republic has begun to havesome financial problems subsidizing such services, particularly in thehealth sector. This has led UNHCR to develop a targeted medical networkto respond to the most acute needs of the refugees.
124. UNHCR has an active presence in the Islamic Republic of Iran witha main office in Tehran and regional offices in Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Mashhadand Zahedan. It carries out several programmes of assistance, documentationand protection.
125. The Special Representative feels it would be presumptuous of him todraw definitive conclusions after such a short period on the job. At thisstage, conclusions are inevitably in the form of observations, questionsand the identification of areas to be examined in more detail.
126. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a dynamic society. There is clearlya range of opinions on most issues facing the society, and in many areasthere is evidently active and fairly open debate. Arguably, this couldbe a prelude for significant change. In the meantime however, there remain,in the view of the Special Representative, many areas of significant concernfrom a human rights perspective. A number of these are identified in thepresent report.
127. More generally, however, the term "human rights" does notyet seem to be widely accepted in the country as a system of values andprocedures to preserve the dignity of the individual. A sense of the universalityof that dignity, of its importance beyond politics, seems at best rudimentary.
128. The Special Representative believes it is his mandate to chroniclenot only acts that he considers to be breaches of human rights, but alsotrends -both positive and negative - and importantly, to engage the Governmentof the Islamic Republic in a dialogue, perhaps implicit, on the subjectof change. The Special Representative believes it to be of the utmost importanceto encourage the Government to lead the way towards a more sympatheticenvironment for the propagation of a culture of human rights in the IslamicRepublic of Iran.
129. The Special Representative acknowledges the cooperation of the Governmentof the Islamic Republic of Iran in the first six months of his mandate.He looks forward to the continuation of this spirit.
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS TO WHICH
THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN IS A PARTY
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a party to the following internationalhuman rights instruments. Their dates of entry into force for the IslamicRepublic of Iran are shown:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 23 March 1976;
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 3 January1976;
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,4 January 1969;
- International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crimeof Apartheid, 17 May 1985;
- International Convention against Apartheid in Sports, 3 April 1988;
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,12 November 1956;
- Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade,and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, 30 December 1959;
- Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 26 October 1976;
- Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1976;
- Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 August 1994.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has signed but not yet ratified the followinginternational human rights instruments:
- Slavery Convention of 1926;
- Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitationof the Prostitution of Others, 16 July 1953.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE'S VISIT TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Saturday, 10 February 1996 Arrival at Mehrabad Airport.
Meeting with H.E. Mr. Rowhani, Deputy Speaker of the Islamic ConsultativeAssembly (Majlis) and Chief Secretary of the Supreme National SecurityCouncil.
Meeting with Mr. Maasoumeh Ebtekar, Chief Editor of Farzaneh Quarterly.
Meeting with H.E. Mr. M. Javad Zarif, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legaland International Affairs.
Meeting with Mr. Badamchian, Leading Member of Article 10 Commission onPolitical Parties.
Sunday, 11 February 1996 Academic round table on Islamic and
international approaches to human rights.
Participants: Ayatollah Taskhiri; Mr. Dinani (Professor, University ofTehran); Mr. Hossein Mehrpoor; Mr. Mohaghegh Damad (Professor, Universityof Tehran); and Ayatollah Jafari (Professor, Islamic Philosophy).
Monday, 12 February 1996 Meeting with Hojatoleslam val Moslemin RahbarPoor, Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Tehran Province and hisdeputy for drug matters.
Meeting with H.E. Mr. Ashari, Deputy Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance.
Meeting with Mr. Eftekhar Jahromi, President of the Independent Bar Association.
Meeting with H.E. Mr. Fallahian, Minister of Intelligence.
Tuesday, 13 February 1996 Meeting with Mr. A. Lajevardi, Head of the
Visit to Evin Prison.
Meeting with H.E. Mr. A. Velayati, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Meeting with Hojatoleslam val Moslemin Ferdosi Poor, Head of the Courtof Administrative Justice.
Meeting with Mrs. Habibi, Adviser to H.E. President Rafsanjani.
Wednesday, 14 February 1996 Meeting with Hojatoleslam val Moslemin Razini,Head of the Courts of Justice of Tehran Province.
Meeting with H.E. Hojatoleslam val Moslemin Esmail Shushtari, Ministerof Justice.
Meeting with Mr. S. Rajaie Khorasani, Member of Parliament and a leadingmember of the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Meeting with Mrs. F. Hashemi, Head of the Women's Solidarity Council.
Thursday, 15 February 1996 Second meeting with Hoyatoleslam val MosleminRahbar Poor.
Meeting with Ayatollah Yazdi, Head of the Judiciary.
Final meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Mr. M. Javad Zarifand members of the Human Rights Department.
Friday, 16 February 1996 Departure for Geneva.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE'S VISIT TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Saturday, 10 February 1996 Mr. Darioush Farouhar, former Labour Ministerin the Provisional Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Sunday, 11 February 1996 Confidential meetings. Confidential meetings:the persons interviewed requested the Special Representative that theirnames be kept in strict confidence.
Monday, 12 February 1996 Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi, former Minister for ForeignAffairs in the Provisional Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Meeting with leading members of the Baha'i Community.
Meeting with Mr. Pierre Bertrand, UNHCR Chief of Mission.
Confidential meetings. 1/
Tuesday, 13 February 1996 Confidential meetings. 1/
Wednesday, 14 February 1996 Meeting with Mr. Abbas Maroufi, Editor-in-Chiefof Gardoon magazine.
Confidential meetings. 1/
Thursday, 15 February 1996 Meeting with Mr. Abdolkarim Soroush.
Meeting with Mr. Abbas Amir-Entezam.
Interviews with the Iranian and international press.
SOME SUBJECTS THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE WISHES TO PURSUE
ON FURTHER VISITS TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
1. Further inquiry into the pretrial phase of legal proceedings, particularlythe treatment of prisoners, the length of time a prisoner can be held beforebeing charged, the right to a lawyer and, generally the rights of detaineesat this pretrial stage.
2. Further inquiry concerning the application of recent or recently revisedor promulgated statutes such as the Law establishing the general and revolutionarycourts and the Penal Code.
3. Number, status and competence of special courts such as the High Tribunalfor Judicial Discipline, the Clerics Court and the Military Court. Therights of the accused, access of the media to the courts, publication ofthe judgements and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction would also beexamined.
4. Examination of such concepts as the "prestige of the clergy","insulting the leaders" and "economic sabotage or terrorism".
5. Use of the death penalty.
6. Functioning of the Independent Bar Association.
7. Legal status and treatment of children, especially in the courts.
INFORMATION ON EXECUTIONS PUBLISHED IN THE IRANIAN AND
INTERNATIONAL PRESS DURING 1995
1. A person accused of murder was executed in February 1995 in the publicsection of Tehran's Ghasr prison and another five persons, accused of smugglingdrugs, were hanged in Hamadan. In March 1995, Javad Taheri, Esmaeel Mohammadiand Javad Bahran-Pour, found guilty of armed robbery, causing chaos andthreatening the security of the people, were hanged in public at Mohammad-Yar,in Naqadeh City.
2. In April 1995, according to the ruling of a revolutionary court, anarmed robber was publicly hanged in Kovar. Also in April, Parvis Poyamaneshand Mehrdad Najafi, found guilty of murder, were hanged in Tehran's Ghasrprison and Ismail Mozdoori, also accused of murder, was executed in Nekaat the scene of the crime, in the presence of judiciary and security officers.In May 1995, 3 persons were hanged in public in a stadium of Ghaemchahron charges of murder; a person was executed in the city of Susangerd formurdering 2 people; 11 persons accused of drug-trafficking were hangedin Kerman's penitentiary and Khodanazar Keshavars and Dadkhoda Tajick,2 persons accused of murder, were executed in the courtyard of Adel-Abadprison in the city of Shiraz.
3. On 13 June 1995, Ali-Reza Gol-Afrouz, aged 43, sentenced to death oncharges of murder, adultery and drinking alcohol, was hanged in publicin Chirvan, after receiving 80 lashes. On 16 June, Ahmad Asghari, aged26, and Mirza Ali Mirzaï, aged 28, were publicly hanged in Varzeh,after being found guilty of abduction and rape. Another four people, accusedof drug-trafficking and acts contrary to chastity, were hanged on 27 Junein the courtyard of a prison in the city of Qom.
4. On 21 July 1995, Lieutenant Colonel Kazem Farzaneh, former Directorof the Department against drug-trafficking in the Province of Khorrassan,was hanged in Mashhad. He was found guilty by the Revolutionary Court ofthat city of drug-trafficking and possession of 123 kilograms of opium,heroin and morphine, as well as receiving bribes. In late September 1995,six members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan were executedby firing squad in the city of Orumiyeh. Rashid Abubakri, a Kurdish villagermember of the party, was hanged on 21 September in a prison in Orumiyeh.
5. Hamzeh Azizi, Vahid-Reza Masrour and Abdol-Reza Masrour were hangedin public on 16 October 1995 at three different locations in the city ofShiraz. They were found guilty by a revolutionary court of corruption onEarth and drug-trafficking. On 13 November, Mehdi Barazandeh, an Iranianmystic member of the Dervish sect, was stoned to death in the city of Hamadan,after being found guilty of adultery and sodomy. On 22 November, FazelKhodadad, a businessman convicted of bank embezzlement, was hanged in Evinprison in Tehran.
LETTER DATED 11 MARCH 1996 FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS
DEPARTMENT OF THE IRANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADDRESSED
TO THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
I hereby draw your attention to the result of investigation done followingyour queries:
1. Referring to the accusations concerning Ms. Zeinab Miri, Ms. SedighehHabibi and Mrs. Nassrin Qa'Emi, I would like to inform you that the questionwas forwarded to the bodies concerned for proper investigation. Accordingto the information received from the above mentioned sources, includingthe Ministry of Interior and the Tehran Justice Department, the arrestof those persons is not confirmed.
2. The baseless and fabricated accusations in regard to the death of twoIranians whose names have been given, Ms. Zahrah Rajabi and Mr. A. Moradi;and the alleged relation thereof with the Islamic Republic of Iran, areobviously spiteful and invalid. It is evident that the security of foreignersin the territory of a given country is the responsibility of the Statein which they reside.
3. Moreover, it should be mentioned that the so-called MKO (a violent smallterrorist group) has in the past repeatedly levelled similar accusationsagainst Iran in the hope of ascribing their policy of murdering their disenchantedmembers to others.
(Signed): Hossein Sh. ZEINEDDIN
LETTER DATED 28 FEBRUARY 1996 FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS
DEPARTMENT OF THE IRANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADDRESSED
TO THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
I would like to provide you with the following information about the clandestinegroup of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi:
(a) Seyyed Morteza Shirazi, son of Seyyed Mohammad, 32 years old,born in Karbala, is the founder of an illegal organization which engagesin unlawful objectives and acts, such as disturbing public order, forgingdocuments, disseminating lies and rumours, insulting the country's officialsand dispatching unauthorized reports abroad. He was arrested on 21 November1995 in Qom and was transferred to Tehran for legal investigations. Inaddition, 10 other members of his illegal organization, whose main chargesare pointed out below, were also arrested. Their cases are under due processof law.
Charges against Seyyed Morteza Shirazi:
(i) Establishing an illegal organization with the purpose of disturbingpublic order along with the following unlawful acts:
a. Collaborating in issuing and using forged passports;
b. Collaborating in issuing and using forged identity cards;
c. Collaborating in the issuing and use of forged educational documents;
d. Collaborating in the illegal transfer of individuals to foreign countries;
e. Printing books without relevant authorization;
(ii) Disturbing public order and actively promoting Ghameh Zani (traditionalknife-beating on the head on the day commemorating the martyrdom of ImamHossein), which led to serious injuries among ignorant persons, and provokingpeople's religious sentiments for the same purpose;
(iii) Forging legal and real entities;
(iv) Disseminating lies and rumours, and endangering the right of freedomof expression in some of the theological centres;
(v) Defaming and insulting the leadership and other officials of the country;
(vi) Making contacts with wanted criminals resident in foreign countries;
(vii) Unauthorized collection and dispatch of information and reports toforeign countries;
(b) Rahman Delavarian, was arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qom underthe alias of Haeri and transferred to Tehran for legal investigations.His charges are as follows:
(i) Providing a safe house for holding illegal meetings and activities;
(ii) Forging passports and identity cards for himself and others;
(iii) Using a forged passport to leave the country illegally;
(iv) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(v) Insulting the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and inciting peopleagainst him;
(vi) Disseminating lies and rumours against the sovereignty of the countryin meetings with foreign residents;
(vii) Providing and forging academic documents;
(viii) Provoking people's religious sentiments, disturbing public orderby committing unlawful acts such as Ghameh Zani and defaming and insultingthe Leader and other officials of the country;
(c) Hadi Akhound, son of Bagher, born in Karbala was arrested on11 November 1995 in Tehran. His charges are as follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Providing logistic facilities for the illegal organization;
(iii) Dispatching false publications and illegal consignments for the membersof the organization;
(iv) Sending publications to the members of the organization that containedslander and insult to the leadership and other officials of the country;
(v) Collaborating in the illegal transport of people prohibited from travellingabroad;
(vi) Publishing and distributing books without appropriate authorization;
(vii) Misusing his position to conspire and forge military service exemptioncards:
(d) Ja'far Ghani, 35 years old, born in Karbala was arrested on30 September 1995 in Qom under the alias of Movafagh Najjar. Followinglegal procedure, he was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. His maincharges are as follows:
(i) Repeated illegal travelling to foreign countries such as Iraq;
(ii) Forging Afghan identity cards and Afghan passports;
(iii) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(iv) Disseminating lies and rumours;
(e) Foad Fujian, 33, son of Nasser, born in Karbala, was arrestedon 11 November 1995 in Tehran. His charges are as follows:
(i) Coordinator and head of the office of the illegal organization of SeyyedMorteza Shirazi;
(ii) Distributing illegal publications containing insults and slander tothe Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and forging legal and realidentities;
(iii) Collaborating in disseminating lies and rumours and disturbing publicorder;
(iv) Violating his commitments to judicial authorities;
(f) Seyyed Abdulrasoul Mousavi, born in Kazemein, was arrested on11 November 1995 in Tehran under the alias of Abu-Adib. His charges areas follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Collecting and maintaining illegal publications containing insultsto the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(iii) Collaborating with the accused Mohammad Dehnavi-Pour and keepinghis illegal publications in order to help him to circumvent the law.
(g) Mohammad Ali Ma'ash was arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qomand was transferred to Tehran for legal investigation. His charges areas follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Fabricating and disseminating lies and rumours and provoking peopleabroad against the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(iii) Counselling and participating in illegal transfer of criminals abroad;
(iv) Abortive attempt to leave the country illegally;
(v) Dispatching classified information and reports abroad with the aimof confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(h) Fazel Mohammad Saleh was arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qomunder the alias of Mohammad Ali Shahabi and was transferred to Tehran forlegal investigation. His charges are as follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Disseminating lies and rumours and directing the agents affiliatedwith the organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi in foreign countries withthe aim of confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(i) Talib Salehi was arrested on 11 November 1995 in Qom and wastransferred to Tehran for legal investigations. His charges are as follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Disseminating lies and rumours against the sovereignty of the IslamicRepublic of Iran and its officials;
(iii) Using a forged Iraqi green card, passport and identity card witha different identity;
(iv) Sending false information to foreign countries with the aim of creatinga psychological war and damaging the reputation of the State;
(j) Taghi Akhound, 33 years old, son of Bagher, born in Karbala,was arrested on 11 November 1995 in Tehran. His charges are as follows:
(i) Membership in the illegal organization of Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Making efforts, and encouraging individuals, to participate in illegalactivities to disturb public order and security;
(iii) Disseminating lies and rumours, disturbing public order and takingunlawful measures such as distributing illegal publications and books andencouraging Ghameh Zani;
(iv) Insulting and slandering the Leader and other officials of the country;
(k) Mohammad Dehnavi-Pour, 45 years old, born in Karbala, was arrestedon 11 November 1995 in Tehran under the alias of Abu-Kamal. His chargesare as follows:
(i) Being in charge of the financial affairs of the illegal organizationof Seyyed Morteza Shirazi;
(ii) Collaborating in disseminating lies and rumours and providing logisticfacilities for the members of the organization;
(iii) Disturbing public order and taking measures contrary to the country'sprestige such as Ghameh Zani;
(iv) Insulting and slandering the Leader and other officials of the country;
(v) Collecting and maintaining illegal publications that contain insultsto the late Leader, Imam Khomeini, and the Islamic revolution.
Contrary to the allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees, they werenot in any way mistreated and even their houses were searched by femaleofficers, in the presence of the accused persons and some of their familymembers. The list of articles collected was signed by the head of the familyand the accused. The procedure for searching some of the houses was videotaped.At the first opportunity in the 24 hours following their arrest, the accusedmade contact with their families and informed them of their situation.These communications have been continued, especially on religious feasts,when the accused have spoken with their spouses and children as well astheir relatives. They have also had several face-to-face meetings. Theyare provided with medicine, medical care, food and health services. Lastly,according to article 35 of the Constitution, they are entitled to choosea lawyer and their right is fully respected.
(Signed): Hossein Sh. ZEINEDDIN
LETTER DATED 7 FEBRUARY 1996 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE
OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE
AT GENEVA ADDRESSED TO THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
I wish to bring to your attention the following findings, which have beenreceived from Tehran:
(a) Mansouri Taheri was arrested on charges of collaboration interrorist activities involving a terrorist group. Following legal proceedings,the accused was sentenced to three years' imprisonment. After serving hisprison term, he was released on 13 December 1985. He later legally leftthe country in July 1995;
(b) Reza Pazhohesh was arrested on charges of collaboration in terroristactivities involving a terrorist group. Following legal proceedings, hewas sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 8 February 1992 in Zanjanprovince. After serving part of his sentence, he was released on 22 August1992;
(c) Taha Kermani. No official information about the incident involvingMr. Taha Kermani has been received. Similar incidents have been communicated,however, in the past, where the terrorist organizations have eliminatedtheir opposition and blamed the Islamic Republic of Iran at the same time.We expect that the relevant Government will make the necessary investigationsand bring the perpetrators to justice;
(d) Mohammad Hassan Basiji was arrested on charges of acting againstpublic safety. According to the court verdict issued on 9 January 1983he was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment. He was releasedafter serving his term.
(Signed): Sirous NASSERI
LETTER DATED 7 FEBRUARY 1996 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE
OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE
AT GENEVA ADDRESSED TO THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
I have the pleasure to provide you with the result of investigations carriedout by the relevant judicial authorities on the following cases:
(a) Samir Yasin Moslemian was arrested and sentenced by the AhwazJudiciary Authorities on 20 November 1990 because of his active membershipin a terrorist group with the aim of subversion and territorial secession.He later qualified for amnesty and his sentence was decreased to 13 yearsand 4 months. At present, he is serving his term in the Ahwaz central jail;
(b) Zaher Manouchehri was arrested on 10 August 1991 on chargesof actively supporting a terrorist group. After due process of law, hewas sentenced to three years imprisonment by Sanandaj judicial authorities.He qualified for amnesty and was therefore released on 13 April 1993. Meanwhile,there is no record on Zaher Manouchehri;
(c) Maryam-Banou Sepehri-Rahnama was apprehended on charges of actingagainst national security. Following due process of law, the court foundher guilty and she was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. She was laterpardoned and released on 29 March 1993;
(d) Homayoun Najafi was arrested on charges of collaboration witha terrorist group. Following due process of law, he was found guilty andwas sentenced to one year's imprisonment. He was released on 30 July 1990after serving his sentence;
(e) Jamshid Amiri Bigvand was arrested on charges of extortion andacting against national security. Following due process of law, he wassentenced to seven years' imprisonment and reimbursement of the extortedmoney;
(f) Seyyed Nasrolah Mir-Saidi was arrested on charges of actingagainst national security. Following due process of law, he was sentencedto 15 years' imprisonment and is serving his term;
(g) Ashraf Taman was arrested on 10 May 1983 on charges of membershipin an armed group and involvement in terrorist activities as well as violatingpublic order. Following due process of law, the person was sentenced toand served an eight-year imprisonment and was released on 24 January 1991;
(h) Abbas Amir Entezam was arrested on 19 December 1979 on chargesof espionage and having relations with the CIA. According to legal procedures,he was publicly tried in the First Branch of the Islamic RevolutionaryCourt in the presence of an attorney and witnesses. The late Bazargan,the then Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of Iran, was activelypresent during his trial, which was videotaped by Iranian television. Finally,he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has not requestedamnesty so far. Yet, out of humanitarian considerations, he was transferredfrom jail to an appropriate house on 8 January 1995;
(i) Morteza Afshari Rad was arrested on charges of causing an explosionin an electrical transformer and gas pipeline in Abhar (Zanjan province)and giving confidential information to the enemy. Following due processof law, he was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. (Our previous responseto the former Special Representative's report (E/CN.4/1995/55) was aboutsomeone else with the same name but a different ID number.);
(j) Malekeh Amouie was arrested on charges of violating public orderand acting against national security. Following due process of law, shequalified for amnesty and was released on 6 April 1993;
(k) Shahin Sameie was arrested on charges of involvement in terroristactivities and violation of public order in 1994. Following due processof law, she was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment. In 1988, she was grantedamnesty and was released from prison;
(l) Salim Sabernia and Mostafa Ghaderi were arrested in anarmed conflict near the north-west border heights, following which theyconfessed that they had murdered several villagers and extorted money fromthem to finance Komele, a terrorist group based in Iraq. Following dueprocess of law, they were sentenced to death by the Tabriz court in 1993.The verdict, however, has not been carried out, and their requests foramnesty are being considered;
(m) Hossein Kamali was arrested on charges of murdering his Romanianwife, Danielle George. Following due process of law, he was found guiltyand sentenced to death. Following his objection to the verdict, the SupremeCourt referred the case to the relevant court to complete the data. Theimplementation of the verdict depends on the legal procedures, includingseeking the views of the close relatives of the victim, to be receivedfrom the Romanian Embassy in Tehran;
(n) Mohammad Rezaie, Iran Ghassemi, S. Houri Pour Anvari and MahnazMoradi (Ghassemi's daughter) were sentenced to capital punishment bythe Twelfth Branch Criminal Court in Hamedan Province. The verdicts, whichwere confirmed by the Twenty-first Branch of the Supreme Court, were carriedout on 3 December 1994 except for Ms. Mahnaz Moradi, who was pregnant andis still in custody;
(o) Nasser Arabha (Arbabi). Because of insulting the society, Islamiccodes and values, and violating Press and Cultural Heritage Acts approvedby the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the licence of Farad magazinewas suspended by the Publication Licence-Issuing Committee, which is composedof representatives of the judiciary, publishers, the Islamic ConsultativeAssembly and the Government. In the presence of the jury, Mr. Arabha (theeditor of Farad) was sentenced to six months' imprisonment. He waslater pardoned and released before serving his full term.
(Signed): Sirous NASSERI
ISLAMIC HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is a national institution withfour substantive organs, which are as follows:
(b) Supreme Council on Policy-making;
(c) Five committees on scientific affairs, monitoring, programming, women'saffairs and follow-up; and
Some of the Articles of Association read:
Article 1. According to principle 156 and the first line of principle158 of the Constitution, IHRC would be formed under the supervision ofthe Chief of the Judiciary.
Article 2. The Commission would operate exclusively in the fieldof Islamic human rights.
Article 3. From the date of establishment, the Council would havelegal responsibility and its chief would be the legal representative ofthe Commission.
Article 4. The headquarters of the Commission would be located inTehran and its branches can be established in any part of the country orthe world.
Objectives of IHRC
The objectives of IHRC are as follows:
(a) Elucidating, teaching and propagating human rights from the Islamicviewpoint;
(b) Monitoring the observance of Islamic human rights by legal and realentities;
(c) Formulating and proposing suitable solutions for taking positions oraction vis-à-vis any violations of human rights particularlyin relation to Muslims the world over;
(d) Considering and following up the violations of Islamic human rightsreported to the Commission;
(e) Cooperating with national and international organizations dealing withhuman rights especially for consideration and follow-up of matters relatedto the Islamic Republic of Iran;
(f) Appraising the condition of the Islamic Republic of Iran in accordancewith international covenants and conventions on human rights.
President of IHRC
The President of the Commission is the head of the judiciary and hisresponsibilities are as follows: chairing the sessions of the Council andmonitoring the implementation of its approvals and exercising properlythe functions of the Council and Committees.
Supreme Council on Policy-making
The Supreme Council on Policy-making consists of nine individuals asfollows: head of the judiciary; two experienced judges familiar with theIslamic human rights; two lawyers selected from among well known professorsof Islamic and international law; the Minister for Foreign Affairs or hisrepresentative; the head of the Bar Association or his representative;and two representatives of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (one man andone woman) familiar with principles of Islamic human rights.
The duties of the Supreme Council are as follows:
(a) Defining guidelines and general policies to realize the objectivesof the Commission;
(b) Defining and approving priorities of the Committees' functions;
(c) Proposing reforms or changes in organization and its duties;
(d) Electing and sending representatives to internal and external forums;
(e) Making decisions about the Commission's membership in internal andexternal forums.
The Commission stipulates in the first amendment of its Articles of Associationthat membership in the Supreme Council is honorary. The Council's sessionswould be formal with the presence of a majority, and its decisions wouldbe adopted with the votes of two-thirds of the members present. In itsfirst session, the Council will elect a president, a vice president anda secretary. The third person can be elected from non-members of the Council.
A. Scientific Committee
This Committee will be formed with the membership of five distinguishedclergymen as well as informed university professors who have good knowledgeof Islamic legal issues as well as the principles and standards of internationallaw. Its responsibilities are as follows:
(a) Defining principles and standards of human rights in Islam and preparingrelevant scientific texts;
(b) Elaborating commonalities and differences between human rights in Islamand international human rights standards;
(c) Organizing training courses on Islamic human rights standards;
(d) Furnishing responses to scientific questions on Islamic human rights.
B. Monitoring Committee
This Committee has two internal and external divisions. Each divisionconsists of four persons familiar with human rights who are responsiblefor studying and monitoring the situation of Islamic human rights in theIslamic Republic of Iran and in other countries.
C. Planning Committee
This Committee consists of three experts in legal, political and socialissues and has the following duties:
(a) Formulating suitable programmes for taking action and positions vis-à-visissues put forward;
(b) Drawing up a practical programme for the approval of the Supreme Councilon Policy-making.
D. Committee on Women's Affairs
This Committee consists of three persons, preferably women, who havea good knowledge of Islamic law and women's social rights. Its duty isto study and reflect on women's issues and difficulties with the cooperationof the Scientific, Monitoring and Follow-up Committees.
E. Follow-up Committee
This Committee consists of 5 judges with 10 years' experience and itsresponsibilities are as follows:
(a) Considering, substantiating and following up complaints and reportingthe result to the Commission's President;
(b) Following up matters referred to it by the Commission and announcingthe result to the Commission's President.
As the first active and executive arm of IHRC, the secretariat is responsiblefor the committees' duties and answerable to complaints received beforethe formation of the committees and is the main liaison among the committees.
The duties of the secretariat, under the supervision of the Council's secretary,are as follows:
(a) Registering and classifying all letters and reports addressed to it;
(b) Preparing requested reports;
(c) Preparing annual reports on the Commission's functions;
(d) Communicating the approvals of the Supreme Council;
(e) Preparing the agenda for the sessions of the Supreme Council;
(f) Following up matters referred to it by the President of the Commission.
The Follow-up Committee, which is the main organ for considering lettersand complaints addressed to the Commission, has received more than 400letters since the establishment of IHRC. The measures taken on these lettersare as follows:
(a) Directing 40 applicants elsewhere since their cases were not relatedto the function of the Commission;
(b) Classifying and transmitting the allegations about 507 cases of enforcedor involuntary disappearances to Provincial Departments of Justice. Tenprovinces have communicated with the Commission so far;
(c) Considering a number of letters and corresponded with relevant departments.Decisions would be made after receiving answers;
(d) Referring to the Supreme Council for consideration of 300 cases aboutBahai's;
(e) Corresponding with foreign countries about violations of the humanrights of Iranians abroad.
Number of communications of the secretariat:
Total number of letters registered: 1,437
Total number of letters issued: 710
HUMAN RIGHTS DEPARTMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently established a Human RightsDepartment. The Director of this Department is assisted by two deputiesand a number of clerks. It reports to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.The functions of the department are:
(a) To coordinate the activities of organs within the Islamic Republicof Iran with the activities of international human rights organs;
(b) To study allegations of violations of human rights. The allegationsare checked with different organs of the Government such as the judiciary,law and order authorities, the prisons organization, the Ministry of Interior,etc. The answers are then sent to special rapporteurs and special representatives(country and thematic mandates) of the Commission on Human Rights;
(c) To follow the questions pertaining to human rights in the Islamic Republicof Iran in the Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee of theGeneral Assembly;
(d) To prepare periodic reports on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iranconcerning the International Covenants and presenting them in the appropriatecommittees;
(e) To prepare specific programmes on human rights and training nationalorganizations for the promotion of human rights.
In order to obtain the necessary information speedily, the office elaborateda special programme for the registration of allegations and uses computerfacilities in order to study the claims sent to it.
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