Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Farrokhru Parsa

About

Age: 57
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Execution: May 8, 1980
Location: Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran
Mode of Execution: Shooting
Charges: Collaborating with the political police SAVAK; Unspecified anti-revolutionary offense; Adultery; Prostitution and/or procuring; Embezzlement of public funds

Human rights violations in this case

The Legal Context

The Courts

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 11 February 1979-1994

 

In the immediate aftermath of the 11 February 1979 Revolution, an ad hoc tribunal, initially referred to as the Extraordinary Revolutionary Tribunal, was set up to try the officials of the previous regime, for which no specific procedures were devised. In a decree dated 24 February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolutionary religious leader, appointed a cleric as Shari’a Judge and instructed him “to issue Shari’a-based rulings,” thereby establishing the foundation of a system of special courts.

 

Initially, the revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction was determined by the religious judge’s interpretation of the Shari’a (Islamic law based on the teachings of the Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet, the 12 imams, and the teachings of Shi’a scholars. On 17 June 1979, the Revolutionary Courts and the Prosecutor’s Office Rules of Procedure, which was only selectively observed, established the latter’s jurisdiction and make-up.

 

The Courts’ jurisdiction encompassed a wide array of offenses including moharebeh (“waging war with God”), efsad e fel arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), crimes against national and international security, economic crimes, murder, profiteering, prostitution, rape, and narcotic drugs-related crimes. The law required that two of the three principal members of the Revolutionary Courts be Shari’a judges.

 

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 1994-2002

 

With the adoption of the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994, and the Code of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts of 19 September 1999, a uniform code of procedure was applied to both revolutionary and general courts. The jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts was limited to 6 categories of offenses:

1. Crimes against national and international security,“moharebeh” (enmity with god) and “efsad e fel arz” (corruption on earth;)

2. defaming Ayatollah Khomeini and the Supreme Leader;

3. plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran, armed action, terrorism, and sabotage;

4. espionage;

5. smuggling and drug-related crimes; 6. claims under Principle 49 (economic crimes) of the Constitution.

 

These courts continued, however, to try cases falling outside their jurisdiction, such as theft and sexual offenses. Further, the vagueness of laws regarding national security allowed the revolutionary courts to try political and media crimes whenever they wished to do so.

 

The new law eliminated the Prosecutor’s Office and gave the judges inthe Revolutionary Courts the power to perform the duties of the prosecutor, as well as their own, in any case brought before them.

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 2002-Present

 

The Amended Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 2002 reinstated the Prosecutor’s Office in both revolutionary and general courts. In cases involving political and media crimes, revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction overlaps with that of Province Criminal Courts.

 

The Appellate System of Revolutionary Courts, 1979-Present

 

From their inception until 1994, the rulings of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. In the early 1980s a court entitled the Supreme Court of Qom was established in the city of Qom and which reviewed cases of execution and confiscation of properties, thereby forming a first tier form of appeal. The exact date of the creation of the court is not clear, but, based on available information, the court became operational in the early 1980s, even though Ayatollah Khomeini's official order for its creation is dated 1985. The court’s procedure was not systematic and did not meet the international standards for a court of appeals; there was no official record of its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Qom was dissolved in 1989.

 

The Law of 14 June 1994 subjected the Courts’ decisions to appeal. An appellate court was established at each provincial capital, called the Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by the Revolutionary Courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those involving capital punishment.

 

Narcotic drugs-related crimes constitute a significant exception to the appeals process. Governed by the Anti-Narcotic Drugs Law of 1988, as Amended on 8 November 1997 and 31 July 3 2010, these crimes are within the jurisdiction of, and are adjudicated on a regular basis by, Revolutionary Courts whose decisions are final. After being handed down by the judge, death sentences are sent to the Prosecutor General or the Head of the Supreme Court as a matter of administrative approval.

 

General Courts, 1979-1982

 

In cases not falling under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts, the system devised under the previous regime continued to function in parallel with new systems devised by laws passed by the Judicial Council, one of which, entitled The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, radically changed the entire structure and categorization of the courts. It divided the courts in three branches: Criminal, Civil, and Peace (a sort of arbitration court dealing with minor financial and other disputes). Specialized courts such as family courts were eliminated.

 

General Courts, 1982-1994

 

The Law of the Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure of 1982 established a new criminal courts system, Criminal Courts I and II. Criminal Court I, established only in provincial capitals, had jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Criminal Court II heard less serious crimes.

 

General Courts, 1994-2002

 

The Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994 established umbrella courts called General Courts, which replaced and dissolved pre-existing civil and criminal courts. The law dissolved the Prosecutor’s offices and tasked a single person with the roles of judge, prosecutor, and investigator.

 

General Courts, 2002-Present

 

In 2002, the 1994 Law was amended, reviving the role of the Prosecutor’s Office in General Courts. The prosecution offices were re-established in a gradual process over several years. The amended law also re-established specialized branches within general courts dealing separately with criminal and civil matters. In addition, this law allocated a number of branches of the Province Court of Appeals to have original jurisdiction over a number of cases including the most serious offenses, as well as political and media crimes. In these cases, the branches are called the Province Criminal Court.

 

The Appellate System of General Courts, 1979-Present

 

The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, abolished appeal of most criminal courts’ decisions. The law of 1982 restricted the appeal possibility even further. According to the Islamic Republic authorities’ interpretation of Islamic Law, a qualified jurist’s decisions were not subject to appeal except under special circumstances, such as when the judge realized his own mistake, or another judge advised him so, or when he did not have jurisdiction over the case. Even in such situations, the case would not go to a higher court but would be subject to review by the same judge or another judge at his level. The judges were even urged to call their verdicts “opinions,” so that the possible change in the verdict would not be “haram” (“sinful,” the highest level of prohibition in Islam, disobedience of which would result in a sin).

 

In October 1988, the Majles (Iranian parliament) passed a law regarding review of court judgments. This law provided for an appeal if the conviction was claimed to be based on invalid documentation or false testimony. The defendant could also base an appeal on a point of law or a procedural violation.

 

The appellate system was expanded in other laws in the late 1980s and in 1993. The Law for the Establishment of Criminal Courts I and II of 11 July 1989 created the Branches of the Supreme Court. Crimes of less importance, tried in Criminal Court II, were subject to review by Criminal Court I.

 

For the most important crimes involving death punishment, which were under the jurisdiction of Criminal Court I, the law allowed limited appeal to the Branches of the Supreme Court. Defendants had the right to petition the Supreme Court for appeal in certain cases involving false testimony or procedural violations, and if granted, the case would be remanded to either another criminal court or the original one.

 

Finally, the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 1994, as amended in 2002, established an appellate court at each provincial capital, called Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by both general and revolutionary courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those carrying the death penalty, as well as decisions made by the Province Criminal Court.

 

Current laws, which were last amended in 2002, reflect and continue the appellate procedure to the Branches of the Supreme Court established by the afore-mentioned law of 11 July 1989

 

Special Courts for the Clergy

 

These courts are rooted in a 1979 decree, issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, which established a committee of religious and noble figures in every region to purge the clergy of anti-revolutionary elements under the supervision of the Revolutionary Courts. Between late 1981 and 1984, a special court in the city of Qom handled, though not systematically, the trial of clerics.

 

On 29 July 1987, Ayatollah Khomeini officially appointed a prosecutor and a member of the clergy as Shari’a judge for Special Courts for the Clergy. On 6 August 1990, a directive was issued regulating the conduct of these courts, the jurisdictional ambiguity of which is such that it effectively extends to “anyone where one of the parties is a cleric” and to “all matters in which the Court is designated as competent by the Supreme Leader.”

 

The court was mandated to try “pseudo clerics, those related to/connected with the clergy, for public and/or anti-revolutionary crimes, and violations of the prestige of the clergy,” and where the principal suspect is a member of the clergy, “any co-conspirator or assistant, whether a cleric or not.”

 

These courts are generally not open to the public and can issue sentences for all acts and omissions punishable under codified Iranian laws or Shari’a or for any other acts or omissions which can bring dishonor to the clergy or to the Islamic Revolution. Further, in certain particular cases – which have not been defined – where no punishment has been devised by either the Penal Code or even the Shari’a, the Court “can rule as it deems fit.”

 

The Appellate System of the Special Court for the Clergy, 1979-Present

 

There is no information on any appeal process for the Special Court for the Clergy prior to the 1990 directive. Article 49 of said directive set up, however, an appeals court called Special Appellate Court for the Clergy, the head of which is appointed by the Supreme Leader, to which the decisions of the lower court can be appealed.

 

Military Courts

 

The military court system, independent from the judiciary under the previous regime, became a part of it on 1 December 1981. The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces, established in 1986, replaced and merged other military courts and tribunals in existence at the time, namely the pre-revolution Judiciary Organization of the Army, the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Army (established on 8 December 1979), and the Revolutionary and General Court for the Revolutionary Guards (established on 15 July 1979.) The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces has its own Criminal Code and follows the country’s general rules of criminal procedure.

 

The Law of the Criminal Procedure of the Armed Forces of 15 May 1985 created Military Courts I and II. Military Court I has jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Military Court II hears less serious crimes.

 

The Appellate System of Military Courts, 1979-Present

 

The law of 8 December 1979, establishing the Revolutionary Military Court, did not provide for any appeals. The Law of 15 May 1985 created a system of appeals through the creation of a two-tier system of courts. The decisions of Military Court II were subject to review by Military Court I. This law also provided that multiple Branches of the Supreme Court be designated as the appellate court to review decisions of Military Court I.

 

The judges

 

1979-1997: Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily law graduates and jurists. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, a five-member Committee was established to purge the judicial system of undesirable elements, pursuant to the Legal Bill for the Modification of the Judiciary and the Law for Hiring Judges of 8 March 1979. The power of the committee was absolute and its decisions, resulting in a widespread purge of the judiciary, final.

 

The Law for the Conditions of Selection of Judges of 4 May 1981 established the conditions of eligibility for judges. The latter were to be hired among men who were legitimate children and had practical commitment to Islam and allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The law, which led to the hiring of clerics and Islamic legal scholars, also allowed hiring practically anyone as a judge who could “obtain the Judicial High Council’s permission.” Moreover, Note 2 of the Amendments of 4 October 1982 to this law allowed widespread employment of seminary students “who ha[d] general knowledge equivalent to a high school diploma” as judges at prosecutor’s offices in general as well as Revolutionary Courts.  

 

By 1989, the judiciary counted about 2,000 new judges trained in theological seminaries (graduates and students) and political appointees, many having replaced judges trained in law schools.

 

1997-Present: As of this writing (2013) the Law for Hiring Judges and its amendments of 4 October 1982, 7 February 1987, and 9 May 1988 are in full force and form the basis for hiring judges. The Executive Rules of Procedure of 22 December 1997 subjected such hiring to passing an entrance examination and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, the duration of which ranges between one and two years. The law does not limit hiring to men only but does not specify in what capacity women will be functioning, other than an advisory one.

 

Dismissal of Judges: From 1979 to 1989, the judiciary was run by the Supreme Judicial Council which was composed of the head of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General (both of whom were appointed by the Supreme Leader), and three judges elected by the entire body of judges in the country. The Council had the power to hire and dismiss judges in accordance with the law.

 

The constitutional reforms of 1989 substituted the Supreme Judicial Council with one person, the Head of the Judiciary. The Supreme Leader, whose mandate is not subject to popular vote, appoints the Head of the Judiciary for a 5-year term. The latter has significant power to influence the dismissal of judges. Dismissal cases are referred to three types of disciplinary courts, presided over by judges appointed by the Head of the Judiciary, who has veto power over any decisions made by the relevant courts.

 

Two of these courts, established in 1991 and 2011, are charged with examining the judges’ conduct from a religious and ideological standpoint. The process does not necessarily involve the defendant and the final decision, left to the Head of the Judiciary, is not subject to appeal.

 

Detentions, interrogations, and trials: 1979-1980

Pre-trial detentions

The charges upon which the accused were arraigned were often extremely broad. Defendants generally had no access to legal counsel nor to their file and the evidence against them prior to the trial.

Trials

Witnesses might be called, or the statement of persons with relevant information read into the court’s record. Accusation witnesses could come forward the day of the trial to give evidence against the accused, but in most cases, defense witnesses were not allowed in court. There was no automatic right of a defendant to cross-examine witnesses or to know the source of the evidence against him. The defendant had an opportunity to state his side of the matter and attempt to refute what was said against him, but the final decision was solely up to the discretion of the religious judge.

Appeal processes

The judgments of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. The convicts were generally executed within a few hours of the judgment.

Human rights violations

Based on the available information, the following human rights have been violated in this case:

  • The right to liberty and security of the person. The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 9.1.

  • The right not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.

    UDHR, Article 12, ICCPR, Article 17.1.

  • The right not to be punished for any crime on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time it was committed.

    UDHR, Article 11.2; ICCPR, Article 15, Article 6.2.

The right to due process

  • The right to be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent and impartial tribunal in accordance with law.

    ICCPR, Article 14.1 and Article 14.2.

Pre-trial detention rights

  • The right to know promptly and in detail the nature and cause of the charges against one.

    UDHR, Article 9(2); ICCPR, Article 9.2 and Article 14.3.a

  • The right to counsel of one’s own choosing or the right to legal aid. The right to communicate with one’s attorney in confidence

    ICCPR, Article 14.3.b and Article 14.3.d; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1, Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, Article 8.

  • The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.

    ICCPR, Article 14.3.b.

  • The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.

    ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.

  • The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

    ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

Trial rights

  • The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.

    ICCPR, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.

  • The right to defense through an attorney or legal aid. The right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against one and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on one’s behalf under the same conditions as prosecution witnesses.

    ICCPR, Article 14.3.d and Article 14.3.e.

  • The right to have the decision rendered in public.

    ICCPR, Article 14.1.

Judgment rights

  • The right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.

    ICCPR, Article 14.5.

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

    ICCPR, Article 6.4.

Capital punishment
  • The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 6.1; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, Article 1.1, Article 1.2.

  • The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

    ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

About this Case

From biology teacher to doctor to Minister of Education, she made a big impact on schooling in Iran.  In the end, her independent mind and passion for improving girls’ education were seen as a threat.

The Prosecutor General of the Islamic Revolution announced the execution of Mrs. Esfand Farrokhru Parsa, former Minister of Education, along with two other individuals, in a communiqué published on May 8, 1980. The daily Enqelab-e Eslami reported the news the same day, quoting the Prosecutor's communiqué. Ettelaat (April 23 and 27, 1981) and Enqelab-e Eslami (April 29, 1980) reported on the first, second, and fifth sessions of her trial.

Ms. Parsa was a well-known public figure in pre-revolutionary Iran. She started her career as a biology teacher in a Tehran high school. She studied medicine and became a medical doctor. Her political career included membership in the Iran Novin Party, deputy in the Iranian Parliament, and a long tenure in the Ministry of Education.

Arrest and detention

No information regarding the circumstances of the defendant's arrest, which took place on February 17, 1980, and her subsequent detention is available.

Trial

Based on press reports, The Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran tried Mrs. Parsa and Mr. Homayun Jaber Ansari. The first and second sessions of her trial took place on April 22 and 23, 1980. The press reports indicate there were three sessions of her trial.

Charges

The indictment against Mrs. Parsa was read by the presiding judge during the first session of the trial on April 22. The charges against her, as reported in Ettelaat, were:

"plunder of public treasury; causing corruption and spreading prostitution in the Ministry of Education; collaborating effectively with the disbanded SAVAK in order to repress and dismiss freedom loving combatant employees from the Ministry of Culture to strengthen the hated Pahlavi regime; giving effective speeches to strengthen the above mentioned regime; participating in passing anti-people laws; using her function and position to break the laws and make the education system reliant on imperialist culture; being close to Nasiri, who was executed; having unlawful relationship with the her office Director."

The indictment concludes following the description of the evidence (see below), "based on the fact that [the accused] belongs to the Baha'i sect, the Azali Branch, and has pretended to be a Muslim. Based on other evidence in her file, it is clear that the accused has committed sins. It is thus requested that her case be examined and she be sentenced to the maximum penalty and her property be confiscated."

International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic’s authorities have executed individuals on trumped-up charges such as drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences. The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The indictment described the basis for the above mentioned charges. The evidence included individual complaints and reports regarding the defendant’s record as a Minister. The indictment listed the complaints as follows: "the complaint filed by Sharifzadeh accused her of using her position to close the plaintiff's school;" "the complaint filed by Abdolali Najafi stated there was abuse and corruption in the Ministry of Education and bribes were paid to journalists sympathetic to the hated Pahlavi regime for propaganda purposes;" "the complaint filed by Heidar Erfani accused her of being the cause of the plaintiff's exile;" "a report regarding the fact that the accused has misused several million tomans and has made the Ministry of Education dependant on American imperialist culture;" "a complaint by Mr. Mohammad Azizi accused her of forcing him to retire and causing him financial and psychological damage;" "a complaint filed by Mojtaba Modares Tirani accused her of closing his school which dishonored him and caused him damage;" "a complaint filed by Ms. Zahra Abaspur that the accused fired her husband, the doorman in Reza Pahlavi's school, because he failed to show respect to Prime Minister Hoveida, seriously affecting their lives and causing extraordinary damages;" "the complaint filed by Ms. Akhtar Ali Ashab stating the accused was an incompetent Minister and was taken advantage of by her assistants causing dissatisfaction and division among the staff;"

The indictment also referred to "a report by the disbanded SAVAK [political police] stating the accused imported 400 thousand rials worth of goods for her personal use without paying custom fees (abuse of power);" "an incitation letter to her, as Minister, from Nasiri [former head of the political police], who was executed;" "the fact that the accused was declared incompetent as a minister and responsible for the ruin of the education system by the employees of the Iran Novin Party;" a SAVAK report stating there was a weekly meeting of a number of the Mardom Party members during which the the defendant was accused of using her position to buy valuable carpets with government money and taking them to her house;" "the fact that the accused talked to her children who lived overseas using government funds."

In the fifth session of the trial ( Enqelab-e Eslami), the Prosecutor's representative defended the indictment. He criticized the defendant for her conduct while in office. He blamed her for having traveled to India and having visited that country's satellites, visits which were not relevant to her function/ profession. He also mentioned other official trips by the defendant to neighboring countries, gifts, her properties, a contract with the Franklin publishing house when she headed the Farah Educational Center, and "her plundering of public treasury". The report does not provide additional details on whether or not the Prosecutor provided any documents or specifics to support the above mentioned allegations.

Two plaintiffs testified against the defendant, following the statements made by the Prosecutor's Representative. The first witness, Mr. Hasan Nami, presented himself as an educator and noted that he had documents against the defendant that he would "provide to the Court if necessary." He testified generally against the officials in the Ministry of Education and noted that he had been in prison while they were in power and now he had a high management position in the Ministry of Education.

He accused the defendant of having considered herself a member of the Board of Directors in spite of the victory of the revolution and gave instructions to withdraw a large amount of money (1.5 million tomans) from the bank. He stressed the fact that the money was withdrawn quickly (within 48 hours), which proved that "these people belonged to a huge gang." Mr. Nami, also accused the defendant of having bought "800.000 tomans of Lab material for the Ministry of Education Complex No 2 before the building was completed. These materials, he said, "which are not worth 100.000 tomans, are not of use to us and are in storage." The report of this testimony does not mention documents provided by the witness to the Court regarding his allegations against the defendant.

The second witness testified on April 29. Ali Akbar Shams presented himself as an educator and brought accusations against a Deputy Minister of Education who, he asserted, "had used Israeli resources in this country and is not in Iran anymore." The newspaper report notes that the witness gave details about the harm done to him (including terminating his contract) by the Ministry of Education but provides no other details about his testimony.

Defense

The Court allowed Mrs. Parsa to make statements in her own defense in the second session of her trial (reported in Ettelaat daily on April 27) before the plaintiffs' testimonies. The report of the trial does not indicate that the defendant was allowed to question those who testified against her, and there is no mention of defense witnesses.

In her statements, the defendant denied the charges brought against her in the indictment. Regarding the accusation of plundering public funds, she declared: "I deny this charge. I was not able to use or misuse public funds since I was not involved in any financial or purchase related matters. If there is any specific evidence, I am accountable." Ms. Parsa also denied having imported goods without paying custom fees: "in the indictment, it was stated that [I] had brought 40,000 tomans worth of goods from Italy without paying custom fees. I have not imported any good from anywhere and if I have done so, there must be some custom document or receipt for the transaction. The SAVAK report is baseless. All their reports are lies."

She also rejected the charge of "unlawful relationship" with her subordinate stating: "I have no evidence to prove it. All I can do is to swear that this accusation is a lie."

Ms. Parsa defended herself against the charge of collaborating with the political police, SAVAK. She stressed that her refusal to collaborate had in fact caused SAVAK to retaliate and spread rumors against her: "For a couple of years, they [the SAVAK] were asking me to create an intelligence network among teachers but I knew that such a network would create an inquisitorial environment where there will be spying and teachers would be arrested. As long as I was in that position, I prevented the creation of such a network and this is why the letter was written. … I suggested instead an anti-communist campaign and submitted a project that [the Shah] approved. Some anti-communist literature was published and we were asked to distribute it among teachers. Of course this alternative did not satisfy them [the Political Police] and as long as I was in my position, they spread rumors and acted against me."

Regarding the charge of dependency on the American imperialist culture, she noted that during her tenure, she had ended the contract of American advisers in the Ministry and had not hired anyone to replace them. She also stressed that there were no relations between the Iranian Ministry of Education and the American Department of Education.

In the last session of her trial, Ms. Parsa defended herself against information contained in a SAVAK report, which was quoted by the prosecutor's representative in the 4th session of the trial and in a testimony by a plaintiff. The SAVAK agent had reported that Ms. Parsa had shown impatience regarding the hijab (Islamic dress code) in a gathering of directors of religious schools (See charges). She referred to the accusations against her concerning that meeting and said: "I did not oppose the hijab. I said that the hijab should not be an obstacle to women's participation in public life. In religious schools, for example, girls did not participate in athletic activities at all. Otherwise, in directives I sent out, I always invited women to dress properly and respect the hijab."

Ms. Parsa defended her record as a public figure. She explained why she had joined the Iran Novin Party: "[I] believed that we were in a state of transition from a dictatorship to freedom and since women were allowed to work and think and be effective in government, I told myself that I could have a constructive role." [Statement quoted by the representative of the Prosecution Office in the fifth session of the trial] She stated that as a Minister of Education, she had strived to hire the best educators, to constantly improve the school curricula, and make sure that students had access to technical and professional training while studying: "I am not saying there was no corruption in the past, but", she said, "I tried not to be involved and I did my best to keep away from corrupt practices."

Judgment

The Revolutionary Tribunal of the Center declared the defendant a "corruptor on earth". The Public Prosecutor's communiqué noted that Mrs. Parsa was convicted for "plundering the national treasury," "causing corruption and spreading prostitution" in the Ministry of Education, "collaborating with SAVAK" and "dismissing combatant educators from the Ministry of Education," "being involved in passing anti-people laws," and "making our education system reliant on imperialist culture." She was executed at dawn.

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