Qassameh, a deadly symptom of Iran’s dysfunctional justice system
February 26, 2018
“I have lost faith in the justice system. Please do something. Whatever you do, please do it fast, so that God willing, it puts an end to our plight.”
The qassameh practice has no place in a modern legal system and even less so in cases involving the death penalty. Its use also conflicts with the jurisprudential principle in Iranian law which states that “the plaintiff has the burden to prove the asserted claim, and denial shall be supported by the oath.” This principle requires the plaintiff to produce evidence proving the accusation, while under certain circumstances the accused can effectively refute the charges by taking an oath. Under qassameh, by contrast, the plaintiff has no burden of proof and indeed does not even need evidence, for it is the very inadequacy or unavailability of evidence that triggers qassameh.
 The Quran makes no mention of qassameh and there is little agreement among Muslim jurists on its applicability and modality. Among the Islamic jurisprudence experts, people like Salim ibn Abd-Allah, Abu Abdulla ibn Zaid al-Jerami, Ibn al-Ayah, Sulayman ibn Yasar, Hokm ibn Atybah, Muslim ibn Khalid, and Bukhari were generally opposed to qassameh.
 “Lowth” refers to circumstantial evidence and indications that induce a suspicion on the part of the judge that the accused party committed the alleged crime.
 The transfer was illegal per Article 51 of the Law for Constituting Public and Revolutionary Courts for Criminal Affairs approved on September 19, 1999 and Article 310 of the Code of Criminal Procedure approved on October 22, 2014.
 Other judgments based on qassameh include: