Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
The Judiciary

Judge Acknowledges Hiding Executions from the Public

Judge Hojat-ol-Eslam Mohammad Ali Fazel
Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)
May 12, 2007

A judicial authority of Fars province states that news coverage of judicial procedures is scant.

The Head of the Public Court and the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Shiraz has said that despite the fact that the judiciary takes strong measures to combat crimes and lawbreaking, the public does not appreciate the work of this body due to sparse news coverage of the actions of the judiciary. 

Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Fazel told an IRNA reporter that the infrequent news coverage of judiciary proceedings may give the impression that the judiciary is weak on crimes and that it neglects its duties, which, he said, is not the case.

He said that the judiciary is absolutely determined to punish crimes in Fars Province.  He added, however, that since it is inappropriate to make daily statements to the public about executions and ghesas and to provide detailed information regarding the cases, court officials prefer that not all of them be reported.

The Head of the Public Court and the Revolutionary Tribunal of Shiraz stated: "In one case, two people were tried in Shiraz for two counts of armed robbery and in another city for ten counts of robbery. In that city they were sentenced to prison for the ten counts of robbery, but for robbing the Saderat Bank in Shiraz, they were sentenced to death.  This case shows the determination of the Fars judiciary to punish the perpetrators.”

According to the IRNA report, Hojatoleslam Fazel said, “Just because there is no interview given and no constant notification about executions ghesas[1]  and  hudud[2], this does not mean that no sentences have been implemented and no strong action has been taken.”

Hojatoleslam Fazel continued, saying that desirable and lasting safety and security is the people's right and they can legitimately expect us to provide peace and security. 

He also underlined the need for speedy implementation of judicial decisions and said, “In one case the entire process -- the investigation, the issuance of the verdict, and implementation of the verdict took only 20 hours.  This case demonstrates that cases about which the public is sensitive can be dealt with promptly and the judgment can be implemented without delay.”

[1]Qisas (Arabic: قصاص) is an Islamic term meaning retaliation, similar to the biblical principle of an eye for an eye. In the case of murder, it means the right of the heirs of a murder victim to demand execution of the murderer. However, the Quran also prescribes that one should seek compensation (Diyya) and not demand retribution. As execution for murder was conceived as the retaliation of the victim's heirs, traditionally the state could only carry out the execution with their permission, and they were free to forgive the murderer, either as an act of charity or in return for compensation.” See Qisas entry in Wikipedia.

[2] Hudud (Arabic حدود, also transliterated hadud, hudood; singular hadd, حد, literal meaning "limit", or "restriction") is the word often used in Islamic literature for the bounds of acceptable behavior and the punishments for serious crimes. In Islamic law or Sharia, hudud usually refers to the class of punishments that are fixed for certain crimes that are considered to be "claims of God." They include theft, fornication, and consumption of alcohol. The punishment for these crimes is prescribed in the Quran and the judge cannot reduce the punishment. Ibid.