Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

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Death Penalty

Tehran Province Judiciary Head: Addicts are Criminals, Drug Sentences Harsher Now than in 1980s

Kayhan Newspaper
Kayhan Newspaper / Translation by ABC
January 8, 2008
Newspaper article

Tehran Province Head of Judiciary: The Conference for the Country’s First Scientific-Practical Workshops for the Fight against Drugs will take place from January 11 to January 13, with the participation of all Islamic Revolutionary Courts judges and with the goal of studying the legal shortcomings in the fight against drugs.

According to our reporter, the Head of Tehran Province Judiciary and the Head of the Headquarters for the Fight against Illicit Drugs’ Legal and Judicial Committee, Hojjatoleslam Alizadeh, announced the news yesterday in a conference with representatives of mass media and added: “In accordance with the law, 12 institutions and organizations are members of the Headquarters for the Fight against Illicit drugs. However, since none of their duties have been specified, all expectations fall on the police force and the Revolutionary Courts, while no one asks any of the other organs to be accountable.”

Alluding to the fact that, pursuant to the Law for the Fight against Illicit Drugs, the President is the official head of the Headquarters, and the remaining members, with the exception of the Commander of the Police Force, the Head of Tehran Province Judiciary, and the Chief Judge of Tehran Revolutionary Court, are people like the Ministers of Health and Medical Treatment, Islamic Guidance, Education, and the Head of State Radio and Television, he stated: “Unfortunately, in recent years, none of the meetings of the Headquarters for the Fight against Illicit Drugs has taken place in the presence of the President; following [this example], the other members dispatch their representatives to participate in the meetings and therefore the meetings do not have the expected effects.”

He added: “Furthermore, the members’ duties are not clear. It is not clear, for example, what duties the Minister of Education or the Head of State Radio and Television have with regard to the fight against drugs, nor are they accountable to any bodies [or authorities].”

Hojjatoleslam Alizadeh added: “Therefore, the afore-mentioned Conference will take place from Wednesday, January 11 to Friday, January 13, with 310 Islamic Revolutionary Court judges attending from all across the country, and in the framework of six training workshops, in order to study these issues and to analyze the existing legal shortcomings in the fight against drugs, and in areas such as money laundering, control of delivery, and sham contracts by agents in order to apprehend drug traffickers, where there are unfortunately no laws. Thus far, 120 articles by legal and judicial scholars - some of whom are known in scientific circles abroad but with whom we have not worked inside the country yet - have been received for presentation at the Conference.”

Quoting certain circles that consider addicts as patients and not criminals, Hojatoleslam Alizadeh stated: “I don’t know what goal these people are pursuing, but the law specifically states that an addict is a criminal and the government has the duty to provide the necessary facilities in order to cure him; however, the Ministry of Health and Medical Treatment which is charged with this task has yet to take a single step in this regard.” Responding to Kayhan reporter’s question concerning the judges’ decisiveness in issuing harsh sentences for drug criminals, he said: “Saying that judges do not issue the necessary sentences is not correct. The sentences that are issued today are even harsher than under Mr. Khalkhali, but unfortunately, they don’t have the necessary effect, and the reason for that, other than existing laws, is the lack of participation by other relevant institutions in the fight against drugs.”

The Head of Tehran Province Judiciary concluded: “The sentences for the defendants who participated in the Berlin Conference have been issued and will be communicated to them tomorrow (today). Some of the defendants have been acquitted and the rest have been convicted.”

Based on this report, Mohammad Javad Mohtashami, Deputy Secretary of the Headquarters for the Fight against Illicit Drugs stated in this meeting: “Up until 1990-91, the Headquarters’ meetings took place regularly on a weekly basis, presided by the Prime Minister. Since then, however, these meetings have been convened irregularly and are not attended by the President.”