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It's All About You, Sir! ^ | May 16, 2004 | Nooredin Abedian

Posted on 05/17/2004 10:00:38 AM PDT by nuconvert

It's All About You, Sir!

Nooredin Abedian/Intellectual Conservative

May 17, 2004

Aytatollah Shahroudi, Iran's Chief Justice, recently ordered a ban on the use of torture, but it remains to be seen whether it will be put into practice.

Two weeks ago, Ayatollah Shahroudi, Iran's Chief Justice, ordered a ban on the use of torture which the Islamic Republic's security organizations routinely use to extract confessions.

"Any torture to extract confession is banned and the confessions extracted through torture are not legitimate and legal," the Chief Justice said in a 15-point directive to the judiciary.

Human rights lawyers and political activists said the statement was a tacit admission that torture is still prevalent.

Shahroudi's directive appeared to address criticism leveled at the judiciary and security forces by human rights groups and political activists. But human rights lawyers were unimpressed.

Amnesty International welcomed the fact that Iran was seeking to adhere to its own laws regarding torture. “But it remains to be seen if the judicial officials or the security officials in the Revolutionary Guard will ... put this into practice,” a spokeswoman said, noting that the regime's own Constitution and its article 38 clearly ban torture.

So what is the reasoning for such a statement?

It might be intended to look as a move towards reform. No way.

First, when clear articles of the Constitution were neglected on a daily basis, what guaranty does one have that a directive by the Chief Justice to the lower ranks should not meet the same fate in the future? In the end, laws are always overruled by the highest echelons of command, not the rank and file.

Second, after having "mutilated" the so called reformist wing of the regime by refusing it the right to participate in the legislative elections in March, Mr. Shahroudi and his conservative trend are hardly in a position even inside the regime's different bands to raise such slogans.

Third, such an initiative, if it was meant to have any effect in Iran, was better issued from an authority enjoying more weight and credibility. Mohammad Hashemi Araqi Shahroudi is, first of all, not an Iranian. He is an Iraqi national who was even an Iraqi political activist and spokesperson for the so called "Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq," created in the 1980s in Tehran. For example, in a lengthy interview with the review of Iran's revolutionary Guards' periodical named Payam-e-Engelab, in June 1986, he took great pains to explain the council's goals for the future of Iraq, not Iran! He himself confessed that according to a decision by Khamenei, the regime's supreme leader, he left the Iraqi camp and joined the Iranian one.

And then, the least acceptable move towards such a goal should be to name, criticize, and hold responsible those in charge of the past carnage. Who was, and is, in charge of the terrible human rights record of the regime? Examples in this regard are really not scarce, but to give a few, one can just point to a list published by the opposition in October of 1987. It might have been updated to this day, but the copy I had available dates to that time. It contains names and particulars of some 14,028 victims of the current regime, all killed by firing squad or hanged in public, or killed in street demonstrations. The opposition claims that the final number of the executed stands somewhere near 70,000, or even 100,000. Even if one stayed with figures for which names and particulars have been forwarded, the account is horrible enough. A 16 year-old girl tortured to death, a 13 year-old girl executed by firing squad, 36 pregnant women executed, whole families annihilated, are all parts of the carnage. To the best of my knowledge, the mullahs' regime has never even bothered to question the authenticity of the information.

A year after that list was published, in the summer of 1988, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of political prisoners already sentenced to prison terms and serving time were executed in the summer and fall following the acceptance of a cease fire in the Iran-Iraq war by the regime. In its report on Iran between 1987 to 1990, and under the subtitle "The massacre of 1988." Amnesty International gives a detailed report of the massacre, where a three-judge panel, nicknamed "death committee," took to retry thousands of prisoners already serving sentences. The new inquisition sessions lasted barely a few minutes for each prisoner. Those who still seemed to be sticking to their opposition to the regime were ordered to be hanged the same day. At the end of each day, the long line of those to be hanged were taken to the gallows, and the few acquitted would be led back to their cells, to continue as harmless prisoners. According to Amnesty International, between 2,000 and 3,000 were executed. In a letter to Khomeiny that led to his falling from grace, Montazeri, then Khomeini's heir apparent, quoted the number to be either 2,800 or 3,800. Opposition counts go as high as 30,000.

The judges who issued those sentences are at work to this day in the Iranian judiciary apparatus, under Mr. Shahroudi's auspices. The most notorious, Jaafar Nayyeri, chairman of the three-judge death committee, is currently Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A second influential judge, Ebrahim Raissi, is the head of the State Inspectorate Office.

So Mr. Shahroudi's audience obviously cannot be the Iranian public. Who else, then? One possible counterpart is the mullahs' EU trade partners. The EU, as it was announced last week, has about billion in annual trade with the mullahs. In spite of it not having pinned down the mullahs in the United Nations' Human Rights Committee's recent session, it has all the same criticized much of the regime's poor record in this respect, not without good reason. If one bears in mind that the Europeans are having a rough time getting the mullahs through the inspections regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the UN, with their horrible record of hide and cheat with their nuclear programs, then it becomes more evident that they need a minimum of respect shown by the mullahs in the human rights arena in order to be able to continue the trend -- if only as a fig leaf to cover the ugly deals with the mullahs.

One last objective is certainly to divert attention from the true culprits. But in spite of the international enthusiasm shown for the event, the statement was shrugged away inside the country. The whole thing reminds you of a historical analogy: During Iran's 1906 Constitutional revolution, a mullah approached a group of "revolutionaries" in the city of Tabriz, the revolution's stronghold northwest of the country, and asked them what "constitution" was all about, explaining that to earn a living he was obliged to preach everyday in the district mosque, and as the "constitution" was the talk of the town those days he was begging them to teach him something about the phenomenon in order to add a little favor to his speeches! The poor guy obviously failed to understand that the whole movement was against such practices and the first ones to go out of business under the new constitutional regime would be his likes.

Now Ayatollah Shahroudi seems to be in the same mood. He might think that a few solemnly-worded directives and statements can help build some respect, turn away attention, and gain some time. He needs to be told: "Sir, its all about you! The first ones having to go out of business in case a true reform was under way would be the likes of your eminence."

Nooredin Abedian is an Iranian engineer based in Germany, and a former lecturer at Tehran University. He writes from time to time on Iranian issues and politics.

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ayatollahshahroudi; humanrights; iran; mrregime; revolutionaryguard; shahroudi; torture

1 posted on 05/17/2004 10:00:41 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert

Hahahahaha! What an oxymoron! An islamic ordering a ban on torture. What a joke!

2 posted on 05/17/2004 10:31:51 AM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: lilylangtree
Hahahahaha! What an oxymoron! An islamic ordering a ban on torture. What a joke!

Maybe by 'torture' he means 'panties on the head.' I'm sure he's still good with decapitation.

3 posted on 05/17/2004 12:09:21 PM PDT by atomicpossum (Hey, I wouldn't touch Camryn Manheim's uterus on a bet.)
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