Letter from Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN (24 October 1994) and Iranian Government Response to 1994 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran
Agenda item 100 (c)
HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS: HUMAN
RIGHTS SITUATIONS AND
REPORTS OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND REPRESENTATIVES
Situation of human rights in
the Islamic Republic of Iran
Note by the Secretary-General
After having finalized his report to the General Assembly at its forty-ninth session, the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran received a letter dated 24 October 1994 from the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva, transmitting further replies of that Government to the allegations of human rights violations and comments of a general nature contained in his memorandum dated 29 July 1994 and reproduced in chapter III of the main part of his report. The replies of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are reproduced in the annex to the present note.
Letter dated 24 October 1994 from the Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office
at Geneva addressed to the Special Representative of the
Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human
rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
With reference to the memorandum dated 29 July 1994, I have the pleasure to enclose herewith the replies forwarded by the authorities concerned in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It is noted that some of the allegations in the said memorandum have also been included in the earlier reports, to which comprehensive replies have been provided for your consideration.
Furthermore, the issues related to the murder of Christian pastors and the bombing of religious shrines, for which you have received separate information in the letters dated 4 October 1994, have also been included in this reply. As the Special Representative has underlined the principle that observation of human rights is not only a responsibility of Governments, but groups and individuals as well, it is expected that the matter will receive appropriate reaction in his observations and conclusions.
Response of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to
the allegations of human rights violations and comments of a
general nature contained in chapter III of the main part of
the interim report by the Special Representative
A. Right to life
A/49/514, paragraph 14
In the past, the Islamic Republic of Iran has provided detailed and logical explanations to the Special Representative about alleged disregard of right to life in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out that States Members of the United Nations have not been barred from resorting to capital punishment. Furthermore, no international human rights instrument to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party, has forbidden capital punishment. Meanwhile, in the Islamic Republic of Iran the death penalty is limited to the "most serious" crimes as recognized in article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. a/ Obviously, the Special Representative could not and may not be considered as the sole authority for interpretation of the extent and breadth of its application. There is a vagueness and lack of substantiated evidence and cases in the alleged "improper application of the guarantees of due process of law". In this regard it should be emphasized that due process of law is guaranteed in the laws and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Appropriate and sufficient care is given by the supervisory bodies in the Judiciary to ensure that verdicts issued by courts of law are in compliance with the legal procedures and provisions of international human rights covenants. Apropos of the administration of certain punishments, including capital punishment in public, it is important to point out that the policy of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to abstain from that type of punishment, in order to ensure social and psychological well-being and to preserve the respect and dignity of the convicts' family members and relatives. Meanwhile, this type of punishment is rarely resorted to, owing to the magnitude and seriousness of the terrorizing crimes, and upon the demand of the emotionally injured people, who request public punishment for the criminals. Therefore, capital punishment is minimal and is administered only on an extremely exceptional basis, limited to few cases.
They were charged and prosecuted for violent public disturbance, armed threat and abduction of people, stealing of public property, rape, and bullying and battering helpless women and children. They were tried and, owing to the extent and seriousness of their crimes, which gave rise to public hatred and abhorrence, were sentenced to public punishment. Other accusations cited in this paragraph, such as leaving their corpses hanging for hours, are baseless.
They were convicted for premeditated murder, adultery and rape and sentenced to death in January 1994. This verdict was confirmed by the Supreme Court and carried out on 1 February 1994. The alleged lapidation or hanging in public have no basis in reality.
Paragraphs 17 and 18
Since only the name of an individual is declared, it will not be possible to investigate this allegation. The Special Representative is requested to provide more information such as date of birth, full name and surname, father's name, place of birth or residence, etc. This information is necessary for a proper investigation.
Mr. Feizollah Makhoubat was arrested last year on charges of espionage and sabotage and after trial was sentenced to death in accordance with the law. The sentence was consequently carried out on 17 February 1993. His corpse was then buried in a Jewish Cemetery according to Jewish faith. Considering the above facts, all the allegations cited in this paragraph are denied. Allegations are expected to be substantiated with the necessary evidence and proof.
The mere provision of the name of the said individual is not sufficient for the necessary investigation to be carried out. As has been justifiably and repeatedly requested in the past, the Special Representative is requested to provide more information such as date of birth, full name and surname, father's name, place of birth or residence, etc. This information is necessary for due investigation.
Since these allegations lack the necessary evidence and information, they cannot be construed as reliable.
The individual mentioned was charged with adultery with married men and being involved in organizing a web of prostitution. She was tried and sentenced to death by the court. The verdict was implemented on 1 March 1994 in prison. There is no truth in the alleged lapidation or public execution.
Since this allegation lacks the necessary specific information, it cannot be investigated and is not reliable.
This report is confirmed. The individual in question had reached legal age and the verdict was implemented in accordance with due judicial process.
Messrs. I. Jafari, H. Dad-Bari and S. Rezai were found guilty of armed robbery of public property and rape and were sentenced to death. The verdict was implemented on 13 July 1994 upon its approbation by the Supreme Court. Messrs. M. H. Ansari and A. Shamsse were found guilty of murder, frequent drug trafficking and terrorizing people. The court verdict condemning them was carried out in July 1994 following confirmation by the Supreme Court.
This report is confirmed. The individual in question had reached legal age and the verdict was carried out following due judicial process.
Since the information, facts and evidence relating to the serial crimes committed by the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization, including the bomb blast in the holy shrine of Imam Reza (P.B.U.H.) and the assassination of Iranian Christian clerics, are interrelated and complementary, the explanations regarding this paragraph and paragraphs 28, 29, 30 and 62 are provided under paragraph 80, section J, below.
Please refer to paragraph 80, section J, below.
Please refer to paragraph 80, section J, below.
The fatwa of the late Imam Khomeini is a religious issue which is of concern to all Muslims and accepted throughout the Muslim world. The statement referred to in the report is merely a publication of segments of the "Popular Basij", which attempts to explain the principle of fatwa in general in Islamic jurisprudence. Therefore, any attempt to attribute this statement to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran or ask for an explanation from the Government has no basis in the reality of the situation.
Paragraphs 31, 32 and 33
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have any information regarding the murder of the persons concerned. However, since protection of life, property and dignity of citizens of other countries is the responsibility of the Government of the country of residence, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for its part, is contesting the cases referred to above and, as a beneficiary, requests the relevant countries to carry out appropriate investigations and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. Furthermore, the relevant authorities and organs of the Islamic Republic of Iran are ready to extend their full cooperation in identifying instigators of such acts of terrorism. Some experts believe the terrorist organizations have carried out such operations in territories of those countries, with the twofold objectives of eliminating the disenchanted elements and disrupting the relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the concerned countries. Therefore, the false claim that elements are acting on behalf of Iranian officials involved in such crimes is nothing but a mere "complementary tactic aimed at damaging the reputation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its foreign relations".
It should be noted that the reply to this matter was provided under paragraph 24 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, page 7). Furthermore, cooperation in this regard should take place in the context of bilateral arrangements for judicial cooperation. The Islamic Republic of Iran has forwarded a proposal in this regard which would enable each side to discharge its undertakings within a mutually accepted legal framework. The Islamic Republic of Iran awaits the response by the Swiss authorities so that agreements may be concluded as soon as possible and mutual cooperation fully realized.
Before completion of a minimum inquiry by relevant French authorities and before a fair verdict is announced, any comment on or claim in this regard would be unfounded. As has been stated many times, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not interfere in this affair in any way, and rejects the speculative allegations levelled in this regard. Unfortunately the said member of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Embassy in Bern, although innocent, has been detained for a long time, contrary to legal procedures. Please refer also to explanations provided regarding paragraphs 31, 32 and 33.
B. Enforced or involuntary disappearances
Many cases included in the list transmitted by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the Commission on Human Rights lack necessary information. The said Group has been requested to furnish complementary information, enabling the relevant authorities and organs in the Islamic Republic of Iran to conduct thorough investigations into these cases.
C. Right to freedom from
torture or cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment
The accusations and allegations of inflicting torture and degrading treatment or punishment, which have been invented in the case of Mr. F. Makhoubat, are categorically rejected. Levelling such allegations without any supportive documents or evidence not only fails to conform to legal standards, but also calls into question the very legal merits of their sources.
Since this allegation lacks the necessary specific information, it cannot be investigated and does not seem reliable.
In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine, dated 3 August 1994, the person in question has unequivocally confessed to collaboration with American and Iraqi agents in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This confession not only clarifies his previous actions, but is also a valid criterion to assess the validity of his other statements. His numerous contradictory press fabrications, self-explanatory as they are, could be caused by financial motives or thirst for fame.
Paragraphs 40 and 41
The cases mentioned relate to principles of Islamic law and which are believed by all the Muslims across the world. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, all punishments are based on Islamic-Constitutional law, and the country is opposed to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments. The verdicts of punishments are issued in accordance with the law and Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The individual in question was tried according to her confession. She was charged with public manifestation of intoxication with alcohol, public disturbance, unlawful sexual relations and perverting some young people. Following due legal process, she was punished according to the sentence of the court.
Levelling allegations of a general nature and without specific information on the cases, cannot be reliable. Meanwhile, it should be emphasized that all litigants have the right to appoint an attorney for their defence.
D. Administration of justice
The laws and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran guarantee the right of the accused to benefit from the services of an attorney. In cases where the accused is unable to hire an attorney, the relevant court is obliged to appoint an attorney (court-appointed attorney) for him or her. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, all those accused have ample time to prepare their defence and to defend themselves. If they object to their arrest, they can file their objection with the court. According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, trials are open to the public. The laws of Iran also guarantee open trials. All courts in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including revolutionary and other courts, act according to the said laws and regulations. Any violation of these regulations is prosecuted by the Disciplinary Court.
According to amendment 18 of Islamic penal law, ratified in 1991, the duration of pretrial detention shall be precisely calculated and deducted from the total term of imprisonment of the convict. Regarding the unlimited prolongation of the detention period before trial, please refer to the response to paragraph 134 of the 1992 report (E/CN.4/1993/41, para. 135). The claim of denial to the accused of access to friends and relatives represents a distortion of the facts; visitation controls are sometimes necessary requirements for a careful and fair trial. According to article 171 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, if any violation of these provisions results in psychological damage to the accused, the latter has the right to seek and receive indemnification.
The overwhelming majority of the judicial authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran hold a bachelor's or higher degree in law. Owing to consideration that "Islamic law" is the main source of "Iranian law", it is necessary to employ Islamic jurists in the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Accordingly, one fourth of the total number of judges are specialists in Islamic jurisprudence. Besides their education in Islamic Law, a great number of them have received university degrees. Moreover, skills in contemporary law and completion of enhanced training programmes are a prerequisite to sit on the bench. The agreement of judges is required for their transfer as stipulated in article 164 of the Constitution. Taking into consideration the facts stated above, the claims in this regard are undoubtedly baseless.
The head of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the administrative position in this branch and does not interfere in judicial deliberations and decisions. According to law, judges enjoy total freedom and independence in their deliberations and decisions of court cases. It is natural to accept that decisions are subject to appeal by the Supreme Court within the framework of the judiciary process. The Chief Justice is the Chairman of the first Chamber of the Supreme Court and one of its members. His only difference in comparison with other judges of the Supreme Court is his responsibility to refer cases to different chambers and to organize the affairs of the Court. Taking this information into consideration, the claims in this regard lack any credibility.
Such claim is not only groundless, but is also an indication of ignorance of its inventors. Islamic law and its principles are the main source of the civil codes of the Islamic Republic of Iran and commonality and coordination between the two is quite interesting. Therefore, in practice, the possibility of contradiction between civil law and Islamic principles is precluded.
An independent bar association exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran and enjoys all rights, including guaranteed free functioning.
Such claims contradict the present situation in and condition of the prisons. The efforts of prison authorities to improve living conditions in jails and to move towards a more idealistic standard in all levels have been reported by the main media and brought to the attention of the public. Please refer to the reply to paragraph 45 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 8).
This claim is a repetition of paragraph 42 of the 1993 report with little difference in the wording and sentence structure. While denying the allegation once again, we refer to the response to this paragraph in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 8).
This claim is baseless. All arrests in the city of Mashhad were made on a temporary basis and according to warrants by the courts. After preliminary investigations those found to be innocent were speedily released. The claim of the imprisonment of 283 people is clearly baseless.
The arrest of bandits and smugglers should not be considered as the violation of human rights; moreover, because of the need to protect the rights of citizens, including the right to life of those who are the gradual victims of drugs, it should be actually supported. Claims regarding demonstrations etc. in Tehran are unfounded and the result of fanciful theories. It is not clear why such fabrications are set forth in this paragraph together with objection to the arrest of bandits and smugglers.
The claims are the result of unreal and distorted news, mixed and related in a spiteful way, manifesting contradiction in their nature. It has been claimed that the Basiji Forces were sent to guide the violators but it was also pointed out immediately that they punished them. While there is a big difference between guidance and punishment, we would like to emphasize that in the Islamic Republic of Iran only courts of justice are legally allowed to impose punishment on wrongdoers.
This claim is refuted. The individuals in question were summoned to the court and after a brief hearing were set free.
According to article 5 of the Law on establishing General and Revolutionary Courts, ratified on 6 July 1994, and articles 4 and 6 of the Administrative Code of the said Law, ratified on 16 July 1994, the Chamber of Revolutionary Courts shall be established in Centre of Provinces or areas and its exigencies determined by the head of the Judiciary. In the said Law and its Administrative Code there is no mention of any increase in the Revolutionary Courts, but the establishment of such courts shall be controlled and limited to the Centre of Provinces and a few other areas whose exigencies shall be discerned by the head of the Judiciary. Since article 34 of the Administrative Code regarding the establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts voids all other contradictory Codes and Circulars, the authenticity of the claim is refuted.
E. Freedom of speech and expression and status of the press
Article 24 of the Constitutional Law and the Law of the Press, ratified in 1985, guarantees the publication and freedom of the press. The latest statistics in this regard indicate that a total number of 448 newspapers and magazines and more than 200 bulletins are published in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Besides, other statistics show 170 new publications in 1991, i.e., five times more than in 1979, which is in itself a denial of the claim in this regard. Moreover, it should be emphasized that none of the cases of bankruptcy claims are due to speculative causes such as self-censorship, censorship, paper shortage, etc. Even on the assumption of true bankruptcy, it must be pointed out that the ratio in comparison with publishers and publications who remain in business is quite low. Besides, such cases are not exclusive to the Islamic Republic of Iran, because recent statistics indicate bankruptcy of newspapers and publications in many countries around the world.
The person in question has been arrested and is now in detention on charges of espionage, acts against the moral health of society, including drug possession and use, slander and participation in plots of the Shah's regime against the Iranian nation. At present, the individual is in good physical and psychological condition.
The person in question is arrested and now in detention on charges of espionage, acts against the moral health of society, including drug possession and use. This individual is at present in good physical and psychological conditions.
Religious scholars and jurists freely express their jurisprudential comments and decrees in the framework of freedom of expression. This even happens in circumstances where some of these decrees and comments are different from the national laws and regulations. The inclusion of this fatwa in the report, and the implication that the court should have suppressed or prevented its assistance, is in itself a clear disregard by the report and its author for freedom of expression as well as for other civil and political rights of an eminent personality like Grand Ayatollah Araki. The legislative debate by the representatives of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) in these circumstances is a reflection of the wishes of the majority of their constituencies.
F. Freedom of religion and the status of the Baha'i community
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the civil code and government practice provide very broad freedom for members of recognized religious minorities, including the applicability of their canon law to their personal and communal affairs as well as reserved seats in the Parliament. Even though minorities can enrol in regular schools, they also have their own private schools. In these schools, which are financially supported by the Ministry of Education, minorities read their language and practice their own religion. All this is indicative of the fact that followers of minority religions enjoy full legal rights. Therefore, the allegations presented in this paragraph concerning restrictions on freedom of belief have no base in reality.
Please refer to paragraph 80, section J, below.
The allegation of the arrest of the individuals referred to is without any foundation.
While refuting the allegations in this paragraph, it should be mentioned that all churches are established and operate in accordance with the law of the land. It goes without saying that any establishment created by fraudulent groups and the misuse of the names and titles of respected religious centres are not entitled to legal protection.
The claims in this paragraph are rejected. It should be emphasized that all religious minorities enjoy all the rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
While rejecting these claims, it should be pointed out that bringing up such an issue results from lack of attention to the reply to paragraph 58 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 12).
Paragraphs 67, 68 and 69
The case is being investigated by the appropriate authorities. At the same time, any complementary information in this regard would be appreciated.
Clear and precise information rejecting the fabricated allegations has been given in the answer to paragraph 54 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 11). Please refer to this reply.
The answer to the claims on ownership rights has been clearly given in the reply to paragraph 55 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 12). Please refer to this reply. Other claims in this paragraph have been examined and been found groundless. It is also useful to refer to the reply to paragraph 56 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, p. 12).
G. Status of women
These allegations are fabrications and have been replied to under paragraphs 59, 61 and 65 in the addendum to the 1993 report (A/48/526/Add.1, appendix, pp. 10-11). It is worth mentioning that article 28 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran provides for freedom of employment for all citizens. Moreover, in national employment legislation, there is no regulation stipulating that the consent of husbands is required for the employment of married women. According to article 180 of the Family Protection Law, wives have the right to curb their husbands' occupations or careers legally if they feel that such occupations or careers constitute a danger to their family life. The division in some public transport vehicles has been made upon the request of those who mostly use them, and is not general practice. Regarding women's participation in sports, it should be pointed out that every morning national television airs women's morning exercises. This is indicative of the amount of authenticity of the claim that women are prohibited from participating in sports.
The claims are rejected. Some of the allegations are the result of distorting sound and logical cultural particularities and mixing them with fabrications. No school has imposed the chador (black attire) as the required dress for girls. Women are free to select the dress of their choice. Covering of the face in some parts of the province of Khoozestan stems from their culture and the customs prevailing there for many centuries and there is no governmental requirement for that observance.
Taking present realities into consideration, these claims are without foundation. Separation of schools for boys and girls is an old tradition and is not peculiar to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The ratio of employed citizens (men and women) is in conformity with the job market and economic factors. Therefore, to expect a fixed employment rate over the past 15 years might well be naive. Such an allegation means that objective realities in the Islamic Republic of Iran have simply been neglected.
The authenticity of this claim is rejected.
According to the information received from the husband of the late Dr. Homa Darabi, she had had symptoms of a psychological disorder for some time. Gradual increase in these symptoms resulted in her unfortunate suicide. The allegation is therefore not true and should be refuted.
The allegation of the assassination of Ms. Zohreh Izadi is totally baseless and stems from a biased fabrication. The said individual committed suicide as a result of family problems. Before that, she had informed her friends of her intention. At the time of the attempt, she injured seriously some of those present at the scene.
H. Political rights
The claim that a gathering of the Freedom Movement of Iran was dispersed by violent means in early 1994 by people supportive of the Government is baseless and therefore rejected.
I. The imprisoned
In its reply to the Special Representative's report of 1992 the Islamic Republic of Iran answered allegations regarding the following persons: Khalil Akhlaghi, Naser Arabha, and Ali Solaymani. The Special Representative should therefore present his reasons for his failure to take these replies into account and for his decision simply to repeat the same allegations in his 1994 report. In its reply to the Special Representative's report of 1993, the Islamic Republic of Iran has answered allegations regarding the following persons: Morteza Afshari Rad, Abdollah Bagheri, Mohammad Hasan Basiji, Naheed Dorood Yahi, Javad Ebrahimi, Abbas Amir Entezam, Mostafa Ghaderi, Farhad Javian, Manoocher Karimzadeh and Salim Sawbernia. The Special Representative should therefore present his reasons for his failure to take these replies into account and for his decision simply to repeat the same allegations in his 1994 report. Moreover, we need to know whether the answers provided regarding other cases in 1994 will be duly considered or simply suffer the same fate. On the other hand, had we answered the allegations contained in this section of the 1994 report, would those answers have received due consideration?
Mohammad Bagher Bourzooi was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and indemnification of damages to public property, on charges of terrorist activities and participation in procurement of weapons and ammunition. Upon receiving a pardon from the leader, he was freed from prison.
After a thorough examination of the charges against Mr. Manouchehr Karimzadeh by the court, he was condemned to 10 years' imprisonment. On the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1994, the above-mentioned individual was pardoned and released from prison.
J. Terrorist activities
As mentioned earlier in connection with the reply to paragraph 27 (see section A above), is an elaboration of the background of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist campaign against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this connection it is noteworthy to refer to the information provided in the letter of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office in Geneva dated 4 October 1994 regarding the outcome of the careful investigations by law enforcement officers into the recent labyrinthine atrocities instigated by MKO in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the bombing of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (P.B.U.H.) in Mashhad on 20 June, and the assassination of Iranian Christian clerics.
It should be added here that Mr. Mohammed Seyyed-ol-Mohhadesin, a well-known terrorist of the foreign relations of MKO, at a London gathering on 25 October 1992 of the members of the British branch of that organization, declared:
"It's about 10 years that we have been establishing an internal command center for directing the kind of operations such as the recent bomb explosions you have witnessed in Iran ..." b/
Another top MKO terrorist, Mr. Manuchehr Hezarkhani stated at the same gathering:
"We have chosen the method of coercion to fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran and dare to be called hotheads for that ..." c/
Although these remarks were made from the heartbeat of world news - London - and despite the plethora of prima facie evidence of the criminal nature of MKO, they have been treated by certain international circles in a manner that has cultivated and enhanced their zest for bloodshedding.
The abundance of facts, intelligence and even outspoken statements made by MKO leaders and members, along with undeniable documents open to examination by the relevant responsible international organizations, leave no doubt that terror, torture and any inhuman action is considered valid and legitimate by the rules governing MKO activities.
The recent ploy of MKO to create and fan religious division and hatred in the Islamic Republic of Iran, had it not been foiled by the Government, could have resulted in a widening circle of tragedy, spilling over into other countries and endangering peace.
a/ Resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
b/ Weekly Nimrooz (Farsi), London, 8.8 1371 (Iranian calendar) (corresponding to 30 October 1992).
© Copyright 1996-2000
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights