14/09/2012 Replies from Iran (Shaheed)

October 2012 reply of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Special Rapporteur’s report

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

In the Name of God The Compassionate, the merciful

With reference to the draft report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to be presented to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, the Islamic Republic of Iran would like to make the following comments and observations in connection with each paragraph of the draft.

Introduction

1. The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the Special Procedures as an important issue in monitoring human rights, provided it is purely professional and free from politicization. We also believe that realization of the afore-mentioned ideal could have prevented, extensive occurrence of tragic events, numerous cases of injustice and human rights violations, flagrant violation of international human rights mechanisms and tragic human rights events such as Guantanamo, Abu Qarib and massacres in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain and other parts of the world. This negligence, on the side of the international community, to the rights of victims has lead to continuation of this spoiling and absence of a proper implementation of international mechanisms.

Since the UN Human Rights Council and other affiliated institutions of the United Nations are entrusted are the main parties entrusted, by the world community, for protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world, it is seriously expected that the Human Rights Council, as the main pillar in the field do not allow any of the existing mechanisms to be abused as instruments for encouragement and not as means for encouragement and promotion of human rights in the world.

Respecting the mandate holder, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that appointment of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran took form through a defective process based on intervention and political sabotage in the mechanism of human rights. It was also mostly based on repetition of groundless allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Therefore, we consider appointment of the country mandate holder as an inappropriate action which undermines the Special Procedure mechanism and the situation of the Human Rights Council, as an institution which should function in conformity with international regulations and safeguard dignity of human rights. We believe that this action has weakened credibility of the Council among people of the I. R. of Iran and other nations.

In his/her responsibility of Rapporteurship, any mandate holder is required to observe basics of confidence building through acquaintance of the target country, acquiring  knowledge on its laws  and internationally recognized norms as well as further observation of the principles of impartiality, full knowledge, honesty, transparency and fairness, avoiding impacts of political pressures.

It requires that prior to any action, the criterion and methodology of carrying out the mandate should be clearly defined; otherwise it shall be merely a theatrical action.

Unfortunately, the resolutions which were adopted on the basis of discrimination and double standards of Western countries, in recent years, and in a way prepared the ground for abusing the existing vacuum in international mechanisms, are professionally of very contradictory and low value. Those are merely long, selective and hostile lists against the Islamic Republic of Iran, produced by the United States, Western countries and their affiliated institutions. Therefore, if the country mandate holder is going to raise the same baseless allegations the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the largest democracy of the Middle-East, through a merely so-called professional gesture, the mandate shall, naturally, be as an excessive and unnecessary action.

The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly recommends the General assembly of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council do avoid damaging dignity of those international organs through non-professional methods. The international community expects the Special Procedure mechanism to take regular actions, similar to the Universal Periodic Review, to monitor human rights situation in different parts of the world, in an unbiased manner, and avoid any discriminatory and double standard action.

Why aren’t the crimes committed by the United State, Britain and Western governments against their citizens, particularly against Muslims and migrants monitored by the Special Procedure mechanism? Why Special Rapporteurs are not appointed for the United States, Britain and members of NATO to reveal their crimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and …? Why Special Rapporteurs are not appointed to disclose how terrorism is disguised by the cover of human rights? Why Special Rapporteurs are not appointed to clarify the reality behind assassination of Iranian scientists and students?

Although in this draft report, it is asserted that Iran’s universal periodic review provides a sound basis for evaluation of its international cooperation and even reference is made to the 123 recommendations to the country, but it does not points at the reality the Islamic Republic of Iran, has demonstrated it serious will for cooperation with international mechanism through accepting of one of the largest number of recommendation made to a member state of the Human Rights Council. This acceptance well indicates the lack of “legal inconsistency” and respect for international obligations. By recognition of the UPR recommendations, Iran has pronounced it belief in constructive cooperation with international mechanisms. To this end, it has also taken positive and constructive steps, recognized by the Special Rapporteur. Those developments shall be announced, in detail, in the course of the second cycle of Iran’s Universal Periodic Review.

2. As it is mentioned in this paragraph, Iran has demonstrated it serious will and intention for meeting the UPR recommendation, through adoption  of new national laws; but in spite of those developments and endeavours, as mentioned in the draft report, and the fact that general sanctions have created obstacles on the way of realization of the serious intentions of Iran with regard to international cooperation with international mechanisms, it does not make any reference to the need for  necessary actions and steps by the international mechanism removing sanctions which hinders protection and promotion of human rights. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly and particularly the UN Security Council are seriously expected to contribute toward removing the sanctions and prepare the ground for the Islamic Republic of Iran to play its constructive role of international cooperation. Moreover, the Human Rights Council, as the international body entrusted with the main task of protection and promotion of human rights, is seriously expected to follow up the issue of removing the sanctions and take the appropriate action for exercise of the inalienable rights of the Iranian nation.

3. Although the mandate holder has firmly expressed his belief that the Islamic Republic of Iran possesses basic legislative framework, guarantees and tools to promote respect for human rights, but he has, unfortunately, made the unfounded claimed that unresolved inconsistencies exist in the country’s legal framework, taking granted baseless allegations made against the country. This by itself indicates lack of information, on the side of the editor of the draft report, of the legal procedure in the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and independence of the Judiciary in exercise of its duties. Punishment or non-punishment of the accused solely and principally depends on approval of the guilt by the examining magistrate through exercise of fair trial, as well as the statements of the accused and his/her legal counsel. Therefore, it rests with the judge to derive guilt or non-guilt of the individual under prosecution on the basis of the evidences and issue a verdict on release or punishment. Therefore, the claim made by the mandate holder is an indicative of his interference in the defined inherent duties, competence and power of any judge. Therefore, this paragraph is seriously expected to be removed from the draft report.

Methodology

4. Although the paragraph has made vague and general reference to “prosecution of human rights defenders”, we would like, for the information of the mandate holder, to announce in clear words that: Application of the title of “human rights defenders” to individuals who ignore norms of the society and commit actions against national security and propagate against the system, on the basis of their anti-social behaviours, abusing a sacred goal, is, in fact, an insult against people in the society. Basically, in the I. R. of Iran, any social activity, in the form of parties, societies and assemblies requires observance of regulations stipulated in the Law on activities of political parties and professional associations, as well as  Islamic and recognized  religious minority societies, and upon obtaining of permit from Commission of Article 10 of the mentioned Law.

Unfortunately, in this paragraph, the “human rights defenders” has been followed by “lawyers”. This implies the wrong idea that holders of different professions in the society, such as lawyer, should enjoy the privilege of immunity from prosecution and any legal accountability in case of committing criminal action. On the basis of Chapters 3 and 4 of the Constitution of I. R. Iran on the rights of people, “all people, including men and women, enjoy equal rights and they all enjoy the protection of law and enjoy, without any precondition, their civil rights”. Also, Article 656 of the country’s Civil Code stipulates that “An agency is a contract whereby one of the parties appoints the other as his representative for the accomplishment of some matter”. Furthermore, Article 667 of the same Code stipulates that “The agent must, in his handlings and performances act in the interests of his principal, and must not exceed the limits of the authority which the principal has explicitly given him, or the authority which is inferred by custom, usage, and circumstantial evidence”. Any violation of the afore-mentioned prerequisites may entail legal consequences. Therefore, any lawyer may be legally sued in proportion to his/her perpetration of offense/offenses.

Application of the general statement of “execution of individuals in absence of fair trial standards” is an indicative of the lack of information, on the side of the editor of the draft report, of the legal procedure in the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and independence of the Judiciary in exercise of its duties. It should be mentioned that there are provisions in laws of many countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the punishment of execution and there is no international consensus for its elimination. The lawmaker has stipulated that the punishment of execution for heavy and most serious crimes has been a legal punishment recognized and endorsed by international documents. In the laws of Islamic Republic of Iran, the punishment of execution is stipulated only for the most serious crimes and the same laws have not prescribed the mentioned punishment for premeditated murder unless the owners of the blood (heir of the victim) request for retribution in kind and the highest pertinent Judicial authority (or his representative) agrees with the demand (Article 219 of the Islamic Penal Code). Within the recent years, tens of individuals have been released from punishment, through conciliatory efforts made by the Judiciary, and encouragement for conciliation has been the principled policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. To this end, even financial support has been provided, by the Judiciary, to the families unable to pay the blood money.

There are many countries who have prescribed death penalty, in their laws, for drug trafficking. For the Islamic Republic of Iran that lies next to the largest producer of opium and heroin in the world, it is very natural to have harsh punishments for drug criminals. Moreover, the I. R. of Iran seizes narcotic shipments of tens of times more than other countries altogether, and thousands of our border guards have been martyred or injured in their fight against the bitter phenomenon.  This matter has become particularly serious for I. R. of Iran since the number of consumers of new types of synthetic drugs has been on the rise, leading to serious consequences for the families and the economy of the nation. Recently, many consumers of those drugs have lost their lives and numerous others have suffered from psychosis, incurable illnesses and death as a result of destruction of tissues.

The fight against drugs and hard-core traffickers, who have smuggled large amounts of drugs on numerous occasions, is a matter with high priority for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is very clear and it can be proven that within the Judicial system of Islamic Republic of Iran the punishment of execution is applied only for those who are the key players and have had previous records in this illicit inhumane trade. In numerous cases those criminals have committed other serious crimes such as acts of terrorism and kidnapping, in addition to drug trafficking.

The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that production and distribution of narcotic drugs is a major and most serious threat against all people of the world, particularly the young generation, and therefore considers it as an example of crime against humanity. It is noticeable that in trial of individuals charged with drug trafficking all the legal proceedings and requirements are exhausted disregarding nationality of the accused. As for the individuals who are charged with minor drug-related offenses, the Iranian lawmaker has introduced and implemented plans and programs for rehabilitation of offenders and addicts, to have a safe return to their society.

In the view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the mechanism of country mandate holder within the United Nations should be based on professional, just, in-discriminatory, fair and non-political principles for monitoring human rights developments. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that appointment of a Special Rapporteur for the country, due to lack of realization and observation of the above-mentioned prerequisites, is an unacceptable project. As for country visit of two thematic Special Rapporteurs, the issue continues to stand in the work program, in continuation of the earlier six visits of the mandate holders.

In this paragraph, reference is also made to “concerns of the international community”. We would like to, emphatically, remind that resort and abuse of the mentioned phrase toward qualifying a few baseless and inauthentic report or allegation is in no way an appropriate approach and action. It is seriously expected that resort to the cover phrase which emanates from a journalistic and politically motivated intention, should be removed from the draft report.

5. This paragraph claims “review of a number of documents! by the Special Rapporteur” in absence of mentioning the deduction made from each alleged document. That is evident that any interpretation in disregarding full knowledge, honesty, impartiality and fairness would not deserve attention and reliability. Moreover, the editor of the draft report has asserted that he has reviewed earlier observations and reports of I. R. Iran in which clear and transparent issues have been provided for promotion and development of collaborations with international mechanisms; then how come, in spite of the earlier clear explanations and comments provided by the country, several repetitive issues are raised in this present draft report.

It should be reminded that the claim of review of allegations and raising of figures and numbers may not create any credibility for the issued raised in the draft report; because any party may provide the mandate holder with abusive, dishonest and unreal allegations. Furthermore, launching of a website by the Special Rapporteur, in parallel with the so many other news making websites throughout the world may not be considered as a success for the editor of the draft report or serve to bring about weight and credibility for the draft. It is firmly believed that only reliance, by the mandate holder, on the legitimate principles of impartiality, full knowledge, honesty and fairness as well as his objective information may bring creditability to this draft report and its statements.

Civil and Political Rights

(a) Freedom of expression and the right to information

8. This paragraph has made references to parts of the Press Law and some Articles of the Islamic Penal Code. On the basis of its general and unspecific references, the editor of the draft report claims that the laws undermine the freedom of expression and the right to information. We believe that utilization of such earlier vague and repetitive statements seriously undermines accountability and credibility of the draft report. Article 165 of the country’s Constitution stipulates that “Trials are to be held openly and members of the public may attend without any restriction; unless the court determines that an open trial would be detrimental to public morality or discipline, or if in case of private disputes, both the parties request not to hold open hearing. Also, Article 168 of the Constitution holds that “Political and press offenses will be tried openly and in the presence of a jury, in courts of justice”. Therefore, the general allegation stating that trials are conducted behind closed doors by judges and not by juries, is unreal, unclear and unacceptable. It is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

9. In this paragraph, the draft the draft report has made reference to the new Penal Code and its Article 263. It is necessary to remind that the new Bill of Islamic Penal Code is still in the process of legislation and in abidance with Article 1 of the Civil Code, shall be published in the official gazette prior to entering into force. Article 513 of the current Islamic Penal Code stipulates that               “Anyone who insults the Islamic sanctities, in case of being subject to Saab-ol-Nabi, shall be punishable by death. Otherwise, imprisonment of one to five months may be applies. It should be restated that if the defendant is not subject to Saab-ol-Nabi, he/she shall not be punishable by death penalty.

It is regrettable that the editor of the draft report has been seeking a definition for “insult”. In laws of every country, the law maker raises reference to legal expression of the legal system of the country which describes the meaning of insult. This, in fact, draws the line between a legal expert and non expert. Vagueness of the word “insult” and the request for its description has been the subjective conception of the editor of the draft report, while firstly, paragraph 3 of Article 18 of the ICCPR explicitly stipulates that “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.” paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Covenant also stipulates that “The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) for respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals”. Meanwhile, there is no document, whatsoever, which may consider insult as a synonym for freedom of expression. Secondly, paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council stipulated that mandate-holders shall carry out their mandate while respecting the national legislations and regulations of the country of their mandate. It is also a point of further regret and surprise that, in the paragraph, the editor of the draft report claims that lack of precision on definition of insult gives way to arbitrary application of law. This statement is totally unacceptable and it indicates lack of knowledge on the side of the mandate-holder, of steps of the legal procedure and appeal in the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Moreover, it appears that the editor of the draft report is not informed that a. ignorance of law does not entail legal unaccountability, and b. in case the judge does not establish existence of a pre mal-intention, as an element for realization of a crime, he/she shall not attribute a charge to the accused. Therefore, because of the inconsistency of paragraph 9 with national and international regulation, as mentioned earlier, it is expected that the paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

10. There is much to be regretted and it is also a point of surprise that the mandate holder asserts that Internet service providers are compelled to store the computer histories and details of their users, while he makes reference to the existence of the Press Law in the country. This is an indication of the lack of attention, on side of the editor of the draft report, that ruling laws of every country are binding and should be observed at least within the same country. Laws and regulations are prescribed by lawmakers on the basis of requirements  of the country as domestic legal remedies, through the due legal procedure. We believe that the type of literature used in this paragraph, disregarding the legal foundations of the impact of laws, may result in agitation of opinion of readers of this daft. Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council stipulated that mandate-holders shall carry out their mandate while respecting the national legislations and regulations of the country of their mandate. Therefore, it is seriously expected that the paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

11. The wording of this paragraph is seriously incorrect. Because the mandate holder has made general attributions to the Government without paying the due attention to the legal foundations of the action/s. It should be reminded that by virtue of Article 24 of the Constitution “Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when it is where there is infringement of the basic tenets of Islam or public rights”. In this respect detailed provisions will be laid down by law”. We draw the attention of the editor of the draft report that the Constitution has explicitly entrusted laying down of detailed provisions to   law and lawmaker. Article 40 of the Constitution also stipulates that “No person may exercise his own rights as a means of constraining others or violating the public interest”. Therefore, the titles that the mandate holder has reckoned with regard to activities, have been in consistence with pertinent laws and regulations; and his expression of concern are merely on the basis of his personal understandings and conceptions. This approach contradicts Article 1 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders. Therefore, it is seriously expected that the paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

12-13. The quality of literature used in those paragraphs is very weak and inappropriate. Because paragraph 12 raises an allegation made by a News agency and then immediately contradicts it by making reference to another piece of news. This behaviour contradicts paragraphs of Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council which stipulate “(d) Focus exclusively on the implementation of their mandate, constantly keeping in mind the fundamental obligations of truthfulness, loyalty and independence pertaining to their mandate; (e) Uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, meaning, in particular, though not exclusively, probity, impartiality, equity, honesty and good faith; (g) Adopt a conduct that is consistent with their status at all times; (h) Be ware of the importance of their duties and responsibilities, taking the particular nature of their mandate into consideration and behaving in such a way as to maintain an reinforce the trust they enjoy of all stakeholders; as well as paragraphs (a), (b) and (e) of Article 9”.  And also the content of Paragraph 13, considering the above mentioned criteria, is weak and inappropriate. Therefore, it is seriously expected that paragraph 12 and 13 to be removed from the draft report.

Journalists and Artists

14. As for this paragraph we should remind the mandate holder that application of the word “allegation” (line 4) in relation with the charges laid against convicts, is totally unacceptable and inappropriate. This by itself indicates lack of information, on the side of the editor of the draft report, of the legal procedure in the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and independence of the Judiciary in exercise of its duties. Punishment or non-punishment of the accused solely and principally depends on approval of the guilt by the examining magistrate through exercise of fair trial, as well as the statements of the accused and his/her legal counsel. Therefore, it rests with the judge to derive guilt or non-guilt of the individual under prosecution on the basis of the evidences and issue a verdict on release or punishment.

Secondly, reflection made in the draft report, of the baseless allegations on torture is not acceptable, since  the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Articles 570, 578, 579 and 587 of the Islamic Penal Code and Article 9 of the Code of respect for legitimate rights of citizens as well as Article 169 of the Executive Code of Procedure of Prisons Organization stipulate that all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden; compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath are not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. To this end, officers and prison authorities have received special trainings. Violation of those articles is liable to punishment in accordance with the law.

The above mentioned laws clearly explain the attitude of the law maker and the country’s authorities against torture and the testimony, confession, or oath obtained under it. “If the defendant shall explicitly and clearly confess to and/or admit the commission of the crime in such a manner that there shall remain no doubt, and if the indications, conjectures and proofs shall confirm the commission of the crime by the defendant, the court shall proceed to pronounce the appropriate judgment. However, if the defendant shall deny the charges and/or accusations or if he shall remain silent, or if the confessions made by the defendant shall be dubitable and uncertain,or if they shall contradict other evidences and reasons, the court shall inquire and interrogate the witnesses, the informed and the defendant anew and shall reconsider other proofs and evidences.” Articles 196, reading “The private plaintiff may make a request to the Court to summon additional witnesses and may ask the Court to proceed with questioning of witnesses during the trial” and 197, stating that “The plaintiff carries the burden of proving the infliction of the injury, the causal connection and the damages incurred” serve as tools for the examining magistrate to make the right judgment.

In many cases and instances, the defendants repeat their initial confessions, at the present of their legal counsel, which, by themselves, serve as another proof for correction of confession at the stage of investigation. In case of torture allegation, raised by the defendant/s, the examining magistrate shall refer him to the forensic for medical examinations. In any case, if it is proven that the confession is acquired under torture, it shall be considered as devoid of value and credence; and the violators shall be brought to justice.

As for the cases and issues raised in this paragraph, the relevant detailed replies have already been provided to the Special Procedures. It is expected that the Special Rapporteure to avoid repetition of the already responded allegations and remove them from this draft report.

15-16. The mandate holder has made reference to his March 2012 report and considering that as an accepted fact and a source of reliable source of information, he has made/reflected repetitive baseless allegations, for which he and the Special Procedures have received comments and responses. This approach by the editor of the draft report constitutes a non technical move leading to agitation of the minds of readers of this draft report. Moreover, the mandate holder, to our surprise and regret, has made statements on the basis of the news released by the British Broadcasting Corporation, where attempt has been made to use unfounded, baseless, instrumental and non technical titles such as “repression”, “persecution”, ”fled” and lack of access to legal counsel. Branding the allegations as baseless, pure fabrications and unacceptable, we would like to assert the following: 

All mass media in the Islamic Republic of Iran are treated on the basis of relevant laws and regulations. Therefore, in case such as promotion issues against public chastity, disturbing of public opinion, action against national security and so on, legal restrictions are imposed. Therefore any judicial or deterrent action against perpetrators of a criminal act shall be in observance of rule of law. The allegation on arbitrary arrest of human rights activists, raised in the question, is categorically baseless and unfounded and all arrests are carried out upon issuing of a warrant of arrest by the judge. The policy of the Islamic republic of Iran is based on strengthening the spirit of constructive dialogue for settlement of any problem. The Government believes that hostile ways overshadows any constructive interaction.

On the basis of Article 20 of the Constitution, “All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights” and there is no difference between journalists and other people in the society, in their enjoyment of their rights; and to the same extent, they are obliged to obey rules and regulations of the country. Thus, any legal treatment with journalists has been within the limits of law and the regulations governing journalistic profession and activities. A criminal act, no matter who the perpetrator is, shall be brought to justice in the court of law. In conclusion, it should be reminded that journalistic and undocumented reports and allegations are not acceptable and do not enjoy legal recognition. With regard to the cases mentioned in paragraph 15, since the case has been brought up for the first time, it shall be in the work program for subsequent action and reply. As for cases raised in paragraph 16, most of them have bee already responded and the remaining are in the agenda.

There are medical clinics and hospital in prisons of the country which provide standard medical services to all inmates. In fact, in comparison with ordinary members of the society living out of prison, prisoners enjoy an easier access to physicians and medical services, free of any charge. The following points are noteworthy in fulfillment of the duties of the Prisons and Safeguards and Educational Measures Organization:

At present, all the places being used as detention centers are under the management and supervision of the Organization and beside intra-organizational supervision, (inspection, security, judicial and verdicts’ execution), it is under high supervision of the Prosecutor. Supervising judges are also authorized, on behalf of the prosecutor, to inspect and supervise all sections, particularly the places of security prisoners and accused ones, in random and without prior notice.

Since the responsibility of prisons is entrusted to the Organization, as an independent body affiliated to the Judiciary (contrary to the countries where prisons are managed by the police), the prison plays no role, whatsoever, in investigation, interrogation and discovery of the perpetrated crime. Therefore, the question of mistreatment with prisoners is ruled out. Moreover, Religious teachings do not allow commitment of such actions. Introduction of reforms into prison management system has also replaced and upgraded solitary confinement cells by single suites.  The suites are used in very rare cases, during judicial investigations for the purpose of preventing collusion among perpetrators of a crime, particularly, under the order issued by the examining magistrate.

Taking the above mentioned facts into consideration, we wish to remind the mandate holder of his duties under the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council. Unfortunately, in paragraph 15 of the draft report, the mandate holder has not observed paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) of Article 3 and paragraphs (a) and (c) of Article 6 as well as paragraph (c) of Article 8 and paragraph (a) of paragraph 9 of the mentioned Code of Conduct. It is seriously expected this part to be removed from the draft report.

17. The editor of the draft report, without indicating the source of the report, has made reference to a quotation attributed to one of Iranian authorities. This attitude has practically disregarded paragraphs (c), (g) and (h) of Article 3 and paragraphs (a) and (c) of Article 6 as well as paragraph (b) of Article 9 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders. Lack of attention on the side of the mandate holder has been to the extent that he has reckoned agency news and reports as a reliable source, and he has ignored stipulations of the International Covenant on civil and Political rights, particularly paragraph 3 of Article 12 and paragraph 3 of Article 19. It is seriously expected that paragraph 17 to be removed from the draft report.

18. The mandate holder has made references to the baseless allegations made by a few journalists and employees of hostile media. This approach, by the editor of the draft report, is considered as a weak, non technical and unreliable action. This action is, inconsistent with paragraphs (c), (g) and (h) of Article 3 and paragraphs (a) and (c) of Article 6, paragraph (a) of Article 8  as well as paragraph (b) of Article 9 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders.  It is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

19. The draft report, in this paragraph, merely makes reference to “reportedly” non technical issues which in an unprofessional manner contradict the afore mentioned Articles of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures. Meanwhile, it should be mentioned that replies has already been provided to the Special procedures in connection with the cases raised in this paragraph.

Freedom of assembly and association

20-21. The quality of this paragraph is an indicative of the defective and incorrect perceptions of the editor of the draft report and his lack of understanding of very clear and explicit laws and regulations. In fact, disregarding the principle of impartiality, he has put himself in the position of claimants and expresses unacceptable and undocumented views. It is quite clear that the mandate holder, in introduction of paragraph 21, has not taken into account paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (g) and (h) of Article 3, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article 6 and paragraph (a) of Article 9  of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders.  It is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

Notice: In this draft report, paragraph 22 has been followed by paragraph 24.

Human Rights Defenders

24. Recognition made by the mandate holder of the comments, information and replies provided to the Special Procedures and the country mandate holder on some communications, by the Islamic Republic of Iran, demonstrates the latter’s will for interaction and cooperation with international mechanisms. As for the reference made to the “legitimacy” of laws, reiterated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, we would like to state that implementation of laws and regulations is entrusted to the governance and people. As for taking an action or not taking an action for which the law maker has prescribed punishments, the prosecutor is the legal authority who may or may not prove attribution of a crime or an offence to an individual and then it shall be left to the court of justice and the judge to find the guilt or non guilt of the defendant through due application of the legal procedures and protocols; and at the final stage the judge shall issue the verdict and the pertinent punishment. Therefore, blaming the Government through resort to a statement such as “vaguely-defined and overly broad charges” is nothing but the personal understanding and judgment of the editor of the draft report without paying attention to the principles of judicial procedure. In introduction of paragraph 24, the mandate holder has not taken into account Article 1, paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (g) and (h) of Article 3, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article 6 and paragraph (a) of Article 9  of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders.  It is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

25-26. In these paragraphs, the mandate holder has raised unreal and unacceptable issue by leaving the principle of impartiality and turning his eyes, as well, from the actual realities existing in the prisons of the country. In fact, he has continued to ignore paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (g) and (h) of Article 3, paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article 6 and paragraph (a) of Article 9  of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders. The Islamic Republic of Iran wishes to draw, once again, the attention of the Special Rapporteur and readers of this report to the following:

All prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, throughout the country, are under direct supervision of prosecuting attorneys or their deputies. They may inspect prisons at any time and in case of any infringement, they may sue the violators. Presently, there are three Tehran Province Deputy Prosecutors under the titles of 1. general prisoners’ affairs, 2.drug-related prisoners’ affairs, 3. female prisoners’ affairs. Meanwhile, supervision on security prisoners is carried out by the Prosecutor himself. The following points are noteworthy in fulfillment of the duties of the Prisons and Safeguarding and Educational Measures Organization:

a. At present, all the places being used as detention centers, are under the management and supervision of the Organization and beside intra-organizational supervision, (inspection, security, judicial and verdicts’ execution), it is under high supervision of the Prosecutor. Supervising judges are also authorized, on behalf of the prosecutor, to inspect and supervise all sections, particularly the places of security prisoners and accused ones, in random and without prior notice.

b. Since the responsibility of prisons is entrusted to the Organization, as an independent body affiliated to the Judiciary (contrary to the countries where prisons are managed by the police), the prison places no role, whatsoever, in investigation, interrogation and discovery of the perpetrated crime. Therefore, the question of mistreatment with prisoners is ruled out. Moreover, Religious teachings do not allow commitment of such actions.

c. Introduction of reforms into prison management system has replaced and upgraded solitary confinement cells by single suites.  The suites are used in very rare cases, during judicial investigations for the purpose of preventing collusion among perpetrators of a crime, particularly, under the order issued by the examining magistrate.

d. The Constitution and other general laws of the country, including the Laws on Safeguarding Legitimate Liberties and Citizens’ Rights, prohibit resort to torture and mistreatment with prisoners. To this end, officers and prison authorities have received special trainings. Meanwhile, interrogation has nothing to do with the subject of prison management.

Baseless allegations raised in paragraphs 25 and 26 are categorically unacceptable and rejected. Unfortunately, the Special Rapporteur has not observed Articles and stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council which may result in misleading the minds of readers of this report.  It is seriously expected that paragraphs 25 and 26 to be removed from the draft report.

Freedom of Religion

28. The statements made in this paragraph are merely the analysis of the mandate holder. Because in spite of claiming acquaintance with the Constitution and the Islamic Penal Code, he, most regretfully, claims that “other aspects of the Iranian law and procedures work to circumvent protections”. Such an allegation is categorically baseless and rejected. Basically, Article 1 the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that “The form of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic, endorsed by the people of Iran on the basis of their long-standing belief in the sovereignty of truth and Quranic justice”. By virtue of Article 91 of the Constitution “With a view to safeguard the Islamic ordinances and the Constitution, in order to examine the compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly with Islam, a council to be known as the Guardian Council is to be constituted”. Likewise, Article 94 stipulates that “All legislations passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly must be sent to the Guardian Council. The Guardian Council must review it within a maximum of ten days from its receipt with a view to ensuring its compatibility with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution. If it finds the legislation incompatible, it will return it to the Assembly for review. Otherwise the legislation will be deemed enforceable.” Therefore, principally, laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran have to be consistent with Islamic percepts. On the basis of Article 167 of the Constitution “The judge is bound to endeavor to judge each case on the basis of the codified law”, effectuated by Article 214 of Iran Criminal Procedure (mistakenly referred to in the draft report as Article 289). Article 168 further stipulates that “…In case of the absence of any such law, he has to deliver his judgment on the basis of authentic Islamic sources and fatwas. He, on the pretext of the silence or deficiency of law in the matter, or its brevity or contradictory nature, cannot refrain from admitting and examining cases and delivering of judgment”.     

Therefore, the collection of governing laws and regulations in I. R. Iran, including the Constitution or regular laws are consistent with the Islamic Canon law; and the permit for reference to Islamic authentic sources and fatwas serves, in fact, as a protection by sanction, for full realization of justice and for examination of case/s and issuing of verdict/s. Considering the above mentioned facts, and that the Special Rapporteur has not observed Articles and stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council which may result in misleading the minds of readers of this report.  It is seriously expected that paragraphs 25 and 26 to be removed from the draft report.

29. Refuting, categorically, the allegations raised in this paragraph, it should be stated that: In accordance with Articles 19, 20, 22 and 23 of the Constitution of the country, all people of Iran, regardless of their affiliation, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. This fact has been one of the outstanding points in the Constitution which is in consistence with international laws and norms. Thus, the principle of protection of the legitimate rights of people, without any exception, or attention to the ethnic group or tribe, color, race, language, and the like of individuals, do not bestow any privilege and is merely driven from this emphasis as well as accountability of the Government.

The Islamic Republic of Iran emphatically wishes the Special Rapporteur to have a fair look at the afore mentioned points and facts. We reiterate, once again, that in I. R. Iran all individuals enjoy the same rights and protection and no one is treated on the basis of his/her belief. Considering the above mentioned realities as well as stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, it is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

Baha’i community

30-31.  By virtue of Article 19 of the Constitution “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege”.

Beside the recognized religious minorities in I. R. Iran, rights of followers of sects, including Baha’is, are fully observed. Needless to say that observing individuals’ rights is conditioned to performing of mutual responsibilities and duties and this legal principle i.e. the duty vis-à-vis the right, is a well-known principle within most legal systems in the world.

The Islamic and religious teachings, strongly prohibits investigation and inquisition; and Article 23 explicitly states that: “investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task, simply for holding a certain belief.” Thus despite several media propaganda, particularly by representatives of the Baha’is, no individual is imprisoned or prosecuted for adhering to a certain belief. 

Instigated by their global headquarters known as “House of Justice” located in the occupied territories of Palestine, some Baha’is are organized and propagate their cult beliefs in society. Obviously those activities are in breach of the existing laws and regulations, and while provoking sentiments of people, they cause disruption in the public order of the society.

It is to be noted that paragraph 3 of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights explicitly stipulates that: “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”; And also according to Article 19 of the Covenant: “the freedom to manifest beliefs is subject to certain restrictions, to respect rights or reputation of others and also for the protection of national security or of public order, health or morals.

Considering the above mentioned realities as well as stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, it is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

Christian Community

32. Recognition of Christianity, by the Constitution, as an officially recognized religion, does not constitute judicial immunity for followers of Christianity. Because paragraph 3 of Article 3 and Article 20 of the Constitution stipulate that all people are equal before law.

In the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, individuals who are sued or prosecuted are not categorized or grouped on the basis of their beliefs; and all trials are conducted in observation of fair trial standards, particularly the right of access to legal counsel. Therefore, the allegations reflected in this paragraph are totally false and baseless, and their reflection is in contradiction with stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council. Therefore, it is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

33. Refuting, categorically, the baseless and unfounded issues reflected in this paragraph, it should be asserted that: in observation of Article 64 of the Constitution, and in spite of the low population of Christians, they are represented by three MPs, by their election, in the Parliament. Also the allegation on summoning and urging Christian converts to return to Islam is categorically baseless and unfounded.

Considering the above mentioned realities and the necessity of observation of the stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, it is seriously expected that this paragraph to be removed from the draft report.

34. There is much to be regretted that while there are a numerous number of  churches throughout the country, how come an allegation is reflected in this paragraph stating that Christians are forced to conduct their religious ceremonies in so called underground or house churches. Thus, any allegation in this connection is absolutely baseless; and any action by authorities is merely in observation of the rule of law.

35, 36 and 37. In  paragraph 35 the editor of the draft report has raised the incorrect allegation that “As an unrecognized religion, members of the Gonabadi Dervish do not enjoy constitutional protections”. Paragraph 14 of Article 3 and Article 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that “All citizens of the country equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights”. The Dervish individuals are Iranian citizens and therefore enjoy all their rights and constitutional protection. Mere reference, by the mandate holder, to “reports” on “arbitrary arrest, torture and prosecution of Gonabadi Dervish in cities of Tehran, Shiraz and Kevar, may not serve an excuse for legitimacy and authenticity of the allegation raised in this paragraph.

In paragraph 36, the editor of the report has made reference to the baseless allegations of an individual in an interview, which, most definitely, is not legally credible source of information.

In paragraph 37, baseless allegations are reflected are produced on the arrest of 36 individuals, without provision of any details. We consider the paragraph as unworthy to respond and misleading as well.

It should be reiterated that being a Dervish or non-Dervish is neither the criterion for classification of lawbreakers nor as a base for determination of legal punishments.

On the basis of the above mentioned points in paragraphs 35, 36 and 37, it is well observed that stipulations and Articles of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council are not observed. Therefore, it is seriously expected that those paragraphs to be removed from the draft report.

Notice: Paragraph 37 has been followed by paragraph 39.

Administration of Justice

39. Although the mandate holder has referred to his earlier report in which he had raised allegations on “legal inequities” in the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and he has acknowledged receipt of comments and viewpoints of I. R. Iran on the basis of Articles 20 and 3 of the Constitution, it is a point of surprise and regret to see that the Special Rapporteur repeats the same issues in his new draft report, which may end in misleading minds of readers. We believe that this action is in contradiction with stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council.

40, 41, 42 and 43. Although the Mandate Holder makes references to “the new Islamic Penal Code” in this draft report and raises points in connection with it, we would like to inform him that the Bill on the new Code is in the current of legislation  and further consideration by the Guardian Council and shall enter into force upon final approval and release in the official gazette.

On the basis of the above mentioned points and lack of observation by the Mandate Holder of the stipulations and Articles of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, it is seriously expected that paragraphs 40, 41, 42 and 43 to be removed from the draft report.

Due Process Right

44, 45, 46 and 47. Although the editor of the draft report acknowledges in paragraph 44, receipt of observations and viewpoints of the Islamic Republic of Iran on his earlier report, relying on and inspired by laws of the Country, including the Constitution, regular laws as well as the Law on Respecting Legitimate Freedoms and Citizenship Rights, there is a strong point of surprise and regret that in paragraph 45, he joins his interviewees through writing baseless and unfounded allegations. Similarly, in Paragraph 46 he narrates allegations made by an unknown person which are totally fabrication f lies. Moreover, in paragraph 47, he makes references to cases, for which relevant responses have already been provided to the Special Procedures. We would like to reiterate, once again, the following:

 Articles 20 and 22 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran has stipulated that “All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria” and ” The dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation of the individual are inviolate, except in cases sanctioned by law”. This indicates, in a glance, the position and value of human being and the need for safeguarding his/her dignity. In confirmation and conformity with those principles, Article 32 stipulates that no one could be arrested unless by the power of law and that the accused should immediately be informed of attributed charges, in writing (Articles 112 and 113 of the Penal Procedure Code). Article 38 stipulates that “All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violation of this article is liable to punishment in accordance with the law. “

Therefore, the above- mentioned Article explicitly states that any confession under torture and persecution shall be considered as null and void. In this connection, Article 194 of the Penal Procedure Code stipulates that “If the defendant shall explicitly and clearly confess to and/or admit the commission of the crime in such a manner that there shall remain no doubt, and if the indications, conjectures and proofs shall confirm the commission of the crime by the defendant, the court shall proceed to pronounce the appropriate judgment. However, if the defendant shall deny the charges and/or accusations or if he shall remain silent, or if the confessions made by the defendant shall be dubitable and uncertain, or if they shall contradict other evidences and reasons, the court shall inquire and interrogate the witnesses, the informed and the defendant anew and shall reconsider other proofs and evidences.” Articles 196 and 197 of the Penal Procedure Code are also stipulated to clear the subject which shall all lead to obtaining of certainty by the examining judge.

In many other cases, defendants repeat their earlier confessions in presence of their defense lawyers and that constitutes one more reason for true nature of the confession at the stage of investigation. In case of any allegation on torture, the judicial authority shall send the alleging individual to the forensic, for the necessary medical examinations. In any case or at any stage, if it is revealed that the confession has been acquired through torture, persecution or harassment, the confession shall be considered as null and void and the violator is liable to punishment in accordance with the law. Moreover, Articles 69 and 70 of the Islamic Penal Code stipulates that “The confession is valid when the confessor has the virtues of maturity, sanity, willingness, and liberty.” and also “The confession must be explicit or appear to be not inconsistent with the case”. Otherwise, it is not credible.

As for the right to legal counsel, we would like to assert that the choice is left to the defendant to choose his/her choice defence counsel. References are made to this right in Article 35 of the Constitution and in the Penal Procedure Code, reading that the accused may have a lawyer of his/her choice. Article 185 of the Penal Procedure Code also states that in all penal cases, parties may choose and introduce their defence lawyers. The time of prosecution shall be announced to the accused, complainant, private claimant and defence lawyers. In case of multiplicity of lawyers, presence of one lawyer from each side in the court, shall be enough (expression of this point indicates that the accused may have more than on lawyer).

Article 186 of the Penal procedure Code stipulates that the accused may request the court to appoint a lawyer for him/her. If the court finds out the inability of the defendant to afford a lawyer, it will appoint a lawyer from amongst the lawyers in the judicial district, or from the adjacent district (costs of the lawyer shall be paid by the justice department).

It should also be mentioned that there are Legal Aid Offices in all Judicial Districts throughout the country. Lawyers and attorneys of those offices shall provide free of charge legal counseling and services to any individual requesting so. The right of being informed, immediately, of the nature and reason of criminal charges.

Article 42 of the Constitution stipulates that “No one may be arrested except in accordance with and in the manner laid down in the law. If a person is detained, the subject matter of the charge, with reasons, must be immediately communicated and explained in writing to the accused and within at most 24 hours, the file on the case and preliminary documentation must be referred to the competent legal authority. Legal procedure must be initiated as early as possible. Any one infringing this Article, will be punished in accordance with the law.”

– Articles 112 and 130 of the Penal Procedure Code have made  stipulations in protection of the rights of the accused, so that he/she could have time, to choose the defence counsel, with the information he/she receives on the nature and causes of the charges. In Article 575 of the Islamic Penal Code, the lawmaker has stipulated punishments for violation of the above-mentioned stipulation, such as permanent removal from judicial position or from governmental positions for duration of 5 years.

-According to the Bill on new penal Procedure Code, law enforcement officers of the Prosecutor’s Office are assigned to read, in the process of prosecution, all the rights of the accused, in writing, and Article 63 of the Bill is the sanction for practice of the Article where it stipulates 3 months to one year of removal from governmental positions against any violation thereof.

Article 37 of the Constitution has explicitly referred to the principle of innocence and also by virtue of Article 177 of the Penal Procedure Code has clarified the duty of the court in terms of observance of the mentioned principle. It should be reminded that Article 4 of the Penal Procedure Code, in addition to emphasizing on observance of the principle of innocence, guarantees effects of the principle in terms of observing the liberties of individuals and their right of privacy under the supervision of law and the judicial authority.

According to the Constitutional Principle 159 “The courts of justice are the official bodies to which all grievances and complaints are to be referred. The formation of courts and their jurisdiction is to be determined by law”. In this connection, Articles 217, 233, 236 and 239 of the Penal Procedure Code guarantees the right of appeal.

It is noteworthy that Articles 272 and 273 of the Penal Procedure Code also stipulate restoring of hearing in observation of precaution in particular cases.

It should be stated that all prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, throughout the country, are under direct supervision of prosecuting attorneys or their deputies. They may inspect prisons at any time and in case of any infringement, they may sue the violators.

         Presently, there are three Tehran Province Deputy Prosecutors under the titles of 1. general prisoners’ affairs, 2.drug-related prisoners’ affairs, 3. female prisoners’ affairs. Meanwhile, supervision on security prisoners is carried out by the Prosecutor himself. The following points are noteworthy in fulfillment of the duties of the Prisons and Safeguarding and Educational Measures Organization:

1.At present, all the places being used as detention centers, are under the management and supervision of the Organization and beside intra-organizational supervision, (inspection, security, judicial and verdicts’ execution), it is under high supervision of the Prosecutor. Supervising judges are also authorized, on behalf of the prosecutor, to inspect and supervise all sections, particularly the places of security prisoners and accused ones, in random and without prior notice.

2.Since the responsibility of prisons is entrusted to the Organization, as an independent body affiliated to the Judiciary (contrary to the countries where prisons are managed by the police), the prison places no role, whatsoever, in investigation, interrogation and discovery of the perpetrated crime. Therefore, the question of mistreatment with prisoners is ruled out. Moreover, Religious teachings do not allow commitment of such actions.

3.Introduction of reforms into prison management system has replaced and upgraded solitary confinement cells by single suites.  The suites are used in very rare cases, during judicial investigations for the purpose of preventing collusion among perpetrators of a crime, particularly, under the order issued by the examining magistrate.

3.The Constitution and other general laws of the country, including the Law on Safeguarding Legitimate Liberties and Citizens Rights, prohibit resort to torture and mistreatment with prisoners. To this end, officers and prison authorities have received special trainings.

In the Constitution and regular laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, stipulations are made on respect for rights of citizens. In practice, and in implementation of the Law on Citizens Rights, too, authorities have committed themselves to implementation of the legislation and any negligence shall entail legal consequences.  Article 15 of the Law stipulates that a commission appointed by Head of the Judiciary shall supervise due observation of the legislation and in case of violation, the commission will take the appropriate action for necessary amendments and administration of justice; and make a report the Head of the Judiciary.

Considering the above mentioned points, the editor of the draft report was not expected to make the baseless and unfounded allegations by false entities as the basis of his draft report and therefore invalidate it. Reflection of abusive allegations made by deceitful individuals or reports, and resort to invalid cases and statements are indicative of inconsistency with paragraphs (c) and (d) of Article 9 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council.  

Notice: In this draft report, paragraph 47 has been followed by paragraph 49.

Independence of legal community

49. Although the editor of the draft report has expressed his deep concern over the effects of the Bill of Formal Attorneyship on the independence of the Bar Association, but it is necessary to remind that the new Bill is currently in the process of legislation and in abidance with Article 1 of the Civil Code, shall be published in the official gazette prior to entering into force. Therefore, expression of concern is not substantiated, because any expression of views on the law which has not yet put into force, is not appropriate and correct.

50-51. As it was mentioned in earlier paragraphs, the law maker and the Government treat the committed crimes by individuals on the basis of the nature of the offence and on the basis of the rule of law. Article 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that “All citizens of the country equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights”. On this basis, all people equally enjoy their rights and there is no discriminatory difference lawyers and other individuals in the society, in their enjoyment of rights; and to the same extent, all people, particularly judges, lawyers and attorneys, as the legal community, are duty bound to observe laws and regulations. As a result of the above mentioned stipulations, people are under the protection of law and any infringement on the law shall be treated on the basis of law and the type of offence, disregarding social or professional status of individuals. Being a lawyer does not constitute immunity from the rule of law.

In this paragraph, the editor of the report has made reference to the baseless journalistic allegations, including torture, which is categorically unfounded and unacceptable. Repetition of such allegations is inconsistence with Articles of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council may constitute the doubt of politicization and impartiality in editing of the draft report and therefore, it is seriously expected that these paragraphs to be removed from the draft report.

Prisons

52. In this paragraph, the editor of the draft report has repeatedly made reference to false and unacceptable allegation without paying the due attention the governing regulation in the country’s prisons, leaving the principle of impartiality and disregarding paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (g) and (h)  of Article 3 and paragraphs (a) and (b) of Article 6 as well as paragraph (a) of paragraph 9 of the Code of Conduct for mandate holders of the Human Rights Council. It appears that repetition of the issues which have been earlier submitted, shall serve as an emphasis on the issue which prepares for a better understanding of the existing realities; as follows: 

All prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, throughout the country, are under direct supervision of prosecuting attorneys or their deputies. They may inspect prisons at any time and in case of any infringement, they may sue the violators.

Presently, there are three Tehran Province Deputy Prosecutors under the titles of 1. general prisoners’ affairs, 2.drug-related prisoners’ affairs, 3. female prisoners’ affairs. Meanwhile, supervision on security prisoners is carried out by the Prosecutor himself.

The following points are noteworthy in fulfillment of the duties of the Prisons and Safeguarding and Educational Measures Organization:

  1. At present, all the places being used as detention centers, are under the management and supervision of the Organization and beside intra-organizational supervision, (inspection, security, judicial and verdicts’ execution), it is under high supervision of the Prosecutor. Supervising judges are also authorized, on behalf of the prosecutor, to inspect and supervise all sections, particularly the places of security prisoners and accused ones, in random and without prior notice.
  2. Since the responsibility of prisons is entrusted to the Organization, as an independent body affiliated to the Judiciary (contrary to the countries where prisons are managed by the police), the prison places no role, whatsoever, in investigation, interrogation and discovery of the perpetrated crime. Therefore, the question of mistreatment with prisoners is ruled out. Moreover, Religious teachings do not allow commitment of such actions.

In paragraph 52, the editor of the draft report has made incorrect reference to a piece of news from one of Websites (isna), on prison conditions, and simply relying on some sources as “several actors connected to Orumiyeh Detention Center and Rajai Shahr Prison reported “has reflected, in a vague manner, the unfounded allegation on “deprived of   adequate access to medical services”.

From the viewpoint of the Islamic Penal Code, no punishment is defined for a political action, and there is no political prisoner in the Islamic Republic of Iran. So, the question of “segregation” is not worthy of attention.

The Islamic Republic of Iran respects international human rights laws as well as the Constitution and regular laws of the Country which are essentially derived from religious and cultural values of the society and expects the mandate holder to do the same to the domestic laws and social values of the Islamic republic of Iran. We believe that attention to cultural diversity may lead to promotion of human rights in the international community.

The baseless allegation brought up in paragraph 52 is strongly rejected and draw the attention of the mandate holder to the point that inclusion of such allegation in the draft report, which is inconsistent the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders, shall merely lead to disruption of public opinion. Therefore, it is seriously expected that paragraph 52 to be removed from the draft report.

Cruel and degrading punishments and Execution

53, 54, 55 and 56. As for these paragraphs, we would like to state the following:

Quality of wording used in those paragraphs and repetition of baseless and unfounded allegation bring the idea to the mind that the editor of the draft report has been endeavoring to turn those false allegations into a belief for the readers of the draft, which is by itself, an unfair and biased approach, blatantly inconsistent with the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate holders  In spite of the inappropriate method of editing the paragraphs of the draft report, which contain incorrect, biased, unreal, blatantly baseless, seemingly edited under political motivation, without providing a real definition of the violation of human rights, which was referred to, in the above mentioned paragraphs, the Islamic Republic of Iran, having the will for interaction and cooperation with international mechanisms, wishes to bring up, once again, the following explanations for the attention of the mandate holder and readers of the draft report:

The Constitution and other general laws of the country, including the Law on Safeguarding Legitimate Liberties and Citizens Rights and Article 169 of the Executive Code of Procedure of Prisons Organization, prohibit resort to torture and mistreatment with prisoners. To this end, officers and prison authorities have received special trainings.

The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates its commitments to principles of the Constitution, the domestic laws and regulations and its international commitments on prohibition of torture, wishes to state the following in connection with the allegations reflected by the Special Rapporteur.

According to Article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Articles 570, 578, 579 and 587 of the Penal Code of Iran stipulate heavy punishments for the violators who commit this offence. Article 9 of the Law on Respect for Legitimate Freedoms and Preservation of Citizenship Rights have also stipulated heavy punishments for the probable offenders.  Therefore, expression of concern by the experts of United Nations Special Procedures concerning extraction of confessions by torture in the Islamic Republic of Iran has no basis and legal justification. According to the aforesaid laws such confessions are not admissible in the courts and violators are liable to prosecution and punishment.

Although in paragraph 54 of the draft report, the mandate holder makes reference to stoning, it should be mentioned that:

The sacred religion of Islam attaches great importance to protection of safety and morality of the society, especially the institution of family. For the purpose of protecting the purity of generations, which is an important factor for the survival of society and family, the legislator has imposed a very heavy punishment of death by stoning for married persons (not unmarried persons) that commit adultery. This is for the purpose of serving as deterrence in order to maintain the strength of family and society. However, very difficult conditions have to be met in order to prove adulterous offences. The purpose of the extreme difficulty of the burden of proof for this group of offences is to reduce maximally the margin of error. This ruling is made only after the meeting the very difficult condition of burden of proof. Therefore, although the punishment is very severe, the decision is made beyond any shadow of doubt. Punishments of “ hodooud” are waived if there is doubt.   The standards for proof and evidence are very difficult to meet in order to reduce the possibility of proving these cases. The aim of Islam for placing these deterrent mechanisms is to deter and prevent commission of these crimes in the society. It is for this reason that compared to secular societies in the West, the number of betrayals within the family in the Islamic countries is substantially less. Islamic religious scholars believe that the punishment of stoning is totally different from death penalty in terms of its character and implementation.

In paragraph 54, the editor of the draft report mentions that the punishment of stoning has been omitted in the new Penal Code and he has claimed that the Constitution and the Penal Code compel judges to deliver judgment on the basis of authentic Islamic sources and fatwas in absence of codified provisions and he has arrived at the conclusion that judges may issue verdicts on death by stoning. To enlighten the mind of the editor of the draft report, we would like to draw his attention to the following:

Article 1 the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that “The form of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic, endorsed by the people of Iran on the basis of their long-standing belief in the sovereignty of truth and Quranic justice”. By virtue of Article 91 of the Constitution “With a view to safeguard the Islamic ordinances and the Constitution, in order to examine the compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly with Islam, a council to be known as the Guardian Council is to be constituted”. Likewise, Article 94 stipulates that “All legislations passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly must be sent to the Guardian Council. The Guardian Council must review it within a maximum of ten days from its receipt with a view to ensuring its compatibility with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution. If it finds the legislation incompatible, it will return it to the Assembly for review. Otherwise the legislation will be deemed enforceable.” Therefore, principally, laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran have to be consistent with Islamic percepts. On the basis of Article 167 of the Constitution “The judge is bound to endeavor to judge each case on the basis of the codified law”, effectuated by Article 214 of Iran Criminal Procedure. Article 168 further stipulates that “…In case of the absence of any such law, he has to deliver his judgment on the basis of authentic Islamic sources and fatwas. He, on the pretext of the silence or deficiency of law in the matter, or its brevity or contradictory nature, cannot refrain from admitting and examining cases and delivering of judgment”. Therefore, the collection of governing laws and regulations in I. R. Iran, including the Constitution or regular laws are consistent with the Islamic Canon law; and the permit for reference to Islamic authentic sources and Fatwas serves, in fact, as a protection by sanction, for full realization of justice and for examination of case/s and issuing of verdict/s. Considering the above mentioned facts, and that the Special Rapporteur has not observed Articles and stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council which may result in misleading the minds of readers of this report.  It is seriously expected that paragraphs 53 and 54 to be removed from the draft report.

55. In this paragraph, the editor of the draft report makes reference to “unpublished” ! data. The following needs to be stated in this connection:

Punishment or non-punishment of the accused solely and principally depends on approval of the guilt by the examining magistrate through exercise of fair trial, as well as the statements of the accused and his/her legal counsel. Therefore, it rests with the judge to derive guilt or non-guilt of the individual under prosecution on the basis of the evidences and issue a verdict on release or punishment.

As for paragraph 56, we would like to state that:

Firstly, as for the reference made to use of capital punishment for  consumption of alcohol for the third time, since such a sentence has never been carried out in the Islamic Republic of Iran, raising of such an issue in the draft report may lead to misleading of public opinion. Therefore, this paragraph is seriously expected to be removed from the draft report.

Secondly, there are provisions in laws of many countries in the world, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the punishment of death, and there is no international consensus for its elimination. The lawmaker has stipulated the punishment of execution for heavy and most serious crimes and it has been a legal punishment recognized and endorsed by international documents. Therefore, at the presence of such legal provision as well as the observance of the rule of law and fair trial standards, raising the allegation of secret executions is totally out of question, unfair and baseless as well.

It should be reiterated, once again, that the fight against hard-core drug traffickers, who smuggle and traffifck large amounts of drugs on numerous occasions, is a matter with high priority for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is very clear and it can be proven that within the Judicial system of Islamic Republic of Iran the punishment of execution is applied only for those who are the key players and have had previous records in this illicit inhumane trade. In numerous cases those individuals have committed other serious crimes such as acts of terrorism and kidnapping, in addition to drug trafficking.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Racial Discrimination

57. Although the editor of the draft report has made reference to positive advancements of the Islamic Republic of Iran toward Millennium Development Goals, but there is much to be regretted that in paragraph 57 he has raised the false allegation on narrowing of public space to criticize policies and activities which most certainly contradicts stipulations of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate holders of the Human Rights Council. Also, Allegation on the rights of workers and on the right to education is strongly baseless and unfounded.  Therefore, this paragraph is seriously expected to be removed from the draft report.

The Right to Education; economic, social and cultural development

58 and 59. Although, in paragraph 58, the editor of the draft report has made reference to a part of regulations of the Iranian Labour Law and also to parts of Iran’s UPR national report, but, in paragraph 59, he has claimed, relying on interviews with so-called labour activists, that those who had attempted to organize  worker’s guilds, had encountered problems; and in continuation he talks about an interview with an unknown member of so-called teacher’s association in which the interviewee had made baseless allegations on mistreatment with teachers. Refuting the unfounded allegation, raised in an interview with a so-called member of teacher’s association, we would like to state that although formation of guild societies is secured in the Labour Law, but observation of “the Law on parties’ and societies’ activities and political and professional associations and Islamic Associations is necessary to be observed.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Status of teachers and workers is one of high position and value. To honour this status, the World Labour Day is officially registered in the calendar of the country and Iranian workers and teachers commemorate the day through holding of different ceremonies throughout the country. It should be reminded that the high respect attached to workers and teacher may not be abused as a means for their immunity from the due application or observance of laws and regulations of the country. Paragraph 16 of the Law on activities of political parties and professional associations, as well as  Islamic and recognized  religious minority societies stipulates that groups are free in their activities provided do not perpetrate offences mentioned in Article 16 of the Law and obtain permit from the Ministry of Interior for holding of gatherings. 

60. In connection with this paragraph, we would like to state the following:

 On the basis of several principles of the Constitution, the Government is duty bound to secure rights of all individuals and judicial security for the whole society. According to Principle 20 of the Constitution all people are equal under the protection of law. On this basis, there is no difference or discrimination between university students and other members of the society in enjoyment of their rights. At the same time, all individuals are required to observe laws and regulations. On this basis, any probable action in scientific and educational environments is treated in accordance with the current laws and regulations of the country and academic centers. On the other hand, deterrent treatments against any individual breaching norms of the society shall be based on current law and regulations. Commitment of a criminal action by any one, disregarding his/her social or educational position, shall entail legal prosecution. Mere holding of a student status does not constitute immunity from legal accountability, including arrest and prosecution.

61. Although the editor of the draft report has stated that he had reviewed national reports of Iran, but, unfortunately he has yet conveyed baseless allegations. Rejecting the allegations, we would like to remind parts of the periodic report of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Human Rights Committee, as follows:  In accordance with the Constitution, no Iranian citizen enjoys a priority over others due to his/her race, religion or a particular language. Of course, it is natural that from amongst the existing religions and languages, only one religion and one language to be recognized as the official ones. But it does not mean that citizen from other religions and languages do not enjoy their freedoms and rights in cultural and religious fields. Article 19 of the Constitution stipulates that “All people of Iran, regardless of their ethnic or tribal affiliation, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege.” Nevertheless, all people are duty bound to surrender to law an as they enjoy their freedoms. Article 20 of the Constitution stipulates that “All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria.” The Constitution states that Persian is the official language of the country, but other local and ethnic languages are also authorized.  Principle 15 of the Constitution states that “The official language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian. Official documents, correspondence, and texts, as well as text-books, must be in this language and script. However, the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian.”    

Therefore, members of other ethnic groups and non-Persian speaking groups, are not only free to speak their own languages, but also the can release publications in their own languages and teach them in school”.

It should be added that presently tens of publications are release throughout the country in Arabic, Azeri, Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian languages.

62. The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its deep regret over the wording and the manner issues are raised in this paragraph. The editor has unfortunately resorted to words such as “gozinesh” and “screening” which are, respectively, vague and inappropriate and unjustifiable.

The editor of the draft report has raised allegations with regard to education and employment which may surprise all readers of the draft. It is quite evident that any country around the world, there are applicants for different employment opportunities and merely the individuals who meet the qualifications required by the employer, and pass the exam or the relevant interviews, get employed. As for education, particularly higher education, a similar situation may prevail. For instance, capacity of universities for admitting students is not indefinite, as a result of which students go through an entrance exam; and only the ones who pass the exam and succeed in the relevant interview enter universities.

In spite of the false allegation on “disproportionately poor services, housing and living condition and expropriation of land, we would like to remind that the Government of I. R. Iran has adopted comprehensive policies and extensive measures for construction of suitable houses for all people throughout the country, titled “Maskan-e-Mehr”. In this project applicants are provided with the financial assistance facilitating their easier access to appropriate housing. Similar facilities have also been made available to farmers in production of agricultural products. There has also been cases where for the sake of macro development plans such as construction of power stations, airport and dams, individuals have received pieces of property in place of their owns.      

Ahwazi Arabs

63. For centuries, different ethnic groups have been living in Iran in an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence, enjoying all their legitimate rights. Raising of the forged title “Ahwazi Arabs” as it has been already mentioned to the Special Procedures, has been as a cause of politically-motivated mal intentions. Therefore, we wish to alert the mandate holder to seriously avoid using the title in his reports.

The Islamic canon law has attributed particular importance to the importance of education. In this connection, Article 3 of the Constitution stipulates that “free education and physical training for everyone at all levels, and the facilitation and expansion of higher education” and Article 30 of the Constitution reads as follows: “The Government is bound to make available, tree of charge, educational facilities for all up to the close of the secondary stage, and to expand free facilities for higher education up to the limits of the country’s own capacity.” The Ministry of Education has carried out a number of programs to promote the right to education and to elevate it qualitatively and quantitatively for all segments of population, especially the vulnerable groups in the society. Moreover, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Technology has also been effectively promoting higher education in the country.

We would like to inform the editor of the draft report that, upon extensive expert studies, the budget Bill of the country is presented, yearly, by the head of the Government to the Parliament for approval. Naturally, all members of the Parliament, including those from Khouzestan Province, shall have the power to participate in parliamentary budget Committee discussions for allocations to their province. Meanwhile, all resources and budget of the country are proportionately distributed among all people disregarding ethnical and geographical inclinations. Therefore, the allegation made in paragraph 63 is categorically rejected.

64. Rejecting the allegation on the livlihood of the Iranian Ahwazi citizens, we would like to assert the following:  

The Government of I. R. Iran has adopted comprehensive policies and extensive measures for construction of suitable houses for all people throughout the country, titled “Maskan-e-Mehr”. In this project applicants are provided with the financial assistance facilitating their easier access to appropriate housing. Similar facilities have also been made available to farmers in production of agricultural products. There has also been cases where for the sake of macro development plans such as construction of power stations, airport and dams, individuals have received pieces of property in place of their owns.

Considering the particular sensitivity of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on racial false allegations such as forced “relocation” of Iranian citizens from one region to the other, we would like to seriously alert the editor of the draft report to refrain from raising such abusive allegations which leads to violation of human rights and discord in the society; particularly when unreliable and mal intended allegations are involved.    

65. As for contents of this paragraph on false statements made by interviewees, we would like to make the following for further attention of the mandate holder:

The legal procedure in the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and independence of the Judiciary in exercise of its duties. Punishment or non-punishment of the accused solely and principally depends on approval of the guilt by the examining magistrate through exercise of fair trial, as well as the statements of the accused and his/her legal counsel. Therefore, it rests with the judge to derive guilt or non-guilt of the individual under prosecution on the basis of the evidences and issue a verdict on release or punishment.

The allegation of torture is not acceptable, since Article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Articles 570, 578, 579 and 587 of the Islamic Penal Code and Article 9 of the Code of respect for legitimate rights of citizens as well as Article 169 of the Executive Code of Procedure of Prisons Organization stipulate that all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden; compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath are not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. To this end, officers and prison authorities have received special trainings. Violation of those articles is liable to punishment in accordance with the law.

Article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Articles 570, 578, 579 and 587 of the Islamic Penal Code and Article 9 of the Code of respect for legitimate rights of citizens stipulate that all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden; compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violation of this article is liable to punishment in accordance with the law.”

In this connection, Article 194 of the Penal Procedure Code stipulates that “If the defendant shall explicitly and clearly confess to and/or admit the commission of the crime in such a manner that there shall remain no doubt, and if the indications, conjectures and proofs shall confirm the commission of the crime by the defendant, the court shall proceed to pronounce the appropriate judgment. However, if the defendant shall deny the charges and/or accusations or if he shall remain silent, or if the confessions made by the defendant shall be dubitable and uncertain, or if they shall contradict other evidences and reasons, the court shall inquire and interrogate the witnesses, the informed and the defendant anew and shall reconsider other proofs and evidences.” Articles 196 and 197 of the Penal Procedure Code are also stipulated to clear the subject which shall all lead to obtaining of certainty by the examining judge.

66. As for the cases raised in this paragraph, detailed responses have already been provided to Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and thus the mandate holder is expected to avoid repetitive reference to those cases.

Refuting, categorically, the allegations raised in paragraphs 63, 64, 65 and 66 of the draft report, we would like to remind the mandate holder that raising of false issues in direction of the allegations made by a number of hostile media and separatist terrorist groups shall only lead to social discord. We expect the mandate holder to seriously observe the Code of Conduct of Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council and refrain from making irreparable statements.  Therefore, this paragraph is seriously expected to be removed from the draft report.

Azeris

67, 68 and 69. As for these paragraphs, we would like to state:

Rejecting the baseless allegations raised in paragraph 67, we draw the attention of the mandate holder to the following: Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Constitution stipulates that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to the goals inter alis “raising the level of public awareness in all areas, through the proper use of the press, mass media, and other means”. Also Article 15 explicitly states that “The official language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian”.

Official documents, correspondence, and texts, as well as text-books, must be in this language and script. However, the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian. Moreover Article 19 reads as “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege”. Finally Article 20 stipulates that “All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria”. In connection with publications, Article 24 states that “Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when there is an infringement of the basic tenets of Islam or public rights. In this respect detailed provisions will be laid down by law”.

Taking into consideration the above mentioned constitutional guarantees, and accountability of the Government for their implementation, are inter alia, evidences which prove baselessness of the allegations brought up in these paragraphs. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran makes every seroius endeavour toward all-out development of the country in different fields in the interest of the nation.

To this end, particular attention has been given to all walks of life. The public media of the Azeris speaking provinces, including radio and television, raise and discuss, inter alia, all economic, social and cultural concerns and interests of the population with the presence of relevant experts. The abusive and insulting issues raised in the draft report, although attributed to unknown sources, such as reports or interviewees, are not excusable. We seriously brand the allegations as baseless and fabrication of lies, intended to insult people and spread discord among them. There are many active Azeri language Websites in the country who in observance of Article 24 of the Constitution, continue their activities. The false and insulting allegation of “the highest illiteracy rates” is not in any way acceptable and excusable. Because the mandate holder should be aware that that in the course of Iranian history, there have been a highly significant number Azeri speaking Islamic Ulama, religious scholars, scientists, artists and elites, who have been sources of extremely valuable services to their country. There are a significant number of universities, theological schools, scientific and academic institutions in different Azeri speaking cities including cities of Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil which prepare for continuation of higher education studies of all people, including Azeri speaking people. Artists of those regions are so beloved by people that different monuments have been constructed in different cities throughout the country, to commemorate them.

There is much to be regretted that the editor of the draft report has not taken the least burden to study about the situation of Iranian people and its great potentials, inter alia, in scientific, cultural, academic and social fields. As a cause of this bitter reality, his status and position has been, unfortunately, used as an instrument for raising of such illegitimate, baseless and ill i