The President of Iran's Supreme Court on the Purge of the Bar Association and the Role of Lawyers
Dr. Beheshti, the Head of the country's Supreme Court and a member of the High Judicial Council, was interviewed by the national and international reporters and responded to questions on various subjects.
The purge of the Bar Association
If defense attorney is at the service of the truth, it is a very good thing, but if defense attorney is at the service of the defendant - the defendant being right or wrong - this is against the principles of Islam
Q: In today's Mizan newspaper there is an article quoting 94 Court Attorneys protesting the use of torture. From their writing it can be concluded that they are trying to instigate agitations. [This is one of the institutions where] purges have not yet taken place. Recently, the Bar Association has published a booklet with even the names and pictures of the attorneys who are active outside of and against the country. Would you please comment on this?
A: Iran's judicial institutions and the Bar Association must be built anew according to the new laws based on the Islamic values. Where it pertains to the Bar Association, there is a plan prepared which I hope will be completed soon and submitted to the Parliament for legislation.
The Attorneys Participation in trials
Enqelab Eslami- Considering that the accused who are tried in the Islamic courts are not familiar with the Islamic principles and laws, and in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the roles of the defense attorneys have been stipulated, what have you done so far for participation of the qualified attorneys?
A: There is no need for new steps. It has already been announced that those attorneys familiar with the Islamic penal code, and whose qualifications have been ratified by the judiciary, can participate.
Enqelab Eslami: But there has been no such a case (with the participation of an attorney) so far.
A: You should wonder why!
Enqelab Eslami: For example, in Saadati's trial (a member of the leftist Muslim, People's Mojahedin who was accused of spying for the Soviet Union), Dr. Lahidji (lawyer and university law Professor) announced he was ready to participate, but the judiciary did not invite him.
A: Perhaps the judiciary did not find his method of defense in line with the requirements of the Islamic code. At any event, the essential issue is that legal representation must really be at the service of the truth and not a service to the defendant. If defense attorney is at the service of the truth, it is a very good thing, but if defense attorney is at the service of the defendant - the defendant being right or wrong - this is against the principles of Islam.
Enqelab Eslami: which authority ratifies the qualifications of the attorneys?
A: At least, the views of the High Judiciary Council in this case can be of value.
The daily Enqelab Eslami, 1 January 1981.