Saturday, November 26, 2005

Law and the Serial Murders

Mehrangiz Kar, Rooz Online:
The criminal policies of the Iranian government are kind to criminals who murder religious and secular intellectuals. The authorizations for the hideous acts of murdering intellectuals is in fact provided in the articles and provisions of Iran’s Constitution.

Thanks to some openness in Iran's political atmosphere on 1998, the topic of official serial murders was once again in the spotlight. A number of Iranian judicial and military authorities involved in the serial murder of secular intellectuals have told reporters that based on Iran's criminal law a “good” Moslem will not be punished if he assumed that someone deserved to die. Iranian intellectuals had been aware of the murder of their colleagues and had discussed their legal and other aspects long before they became public issues, thanks in part to the openness of president Khatami’s reform seeking administration.

While I had been accused by the fundamentalist media on many occasions of combating Islam, I submitted a report on this to the “Islamic Human Rights Commission”, which had been set up by the orders of ayatollah Yazdi, who was then the chief of the Judiciary branch of government and which was led by Mr. Ziai Far. In my report I requested, in the context of human right, the authorities to be sensitive to the legal provisions that existed in the country legal structure which provided the license for committing murder in the Islamic Republic. I also requested them to provide me and my family the necessary security and remind the aggressive official media of their responsibilities. In that report I also requested that specific laws and regulations that provided the means to criminals to commit their crimes be amended.

The Commission either did not wish to or did not have the clout to respond to my human rights request. While there are no official statistics on the number of serial murders committed in Iran, the acts themselves have legal basis, i.e. they are sanctioned by existing laws and regulations. Efforts to amend these laws have not produced any results.

To cite one example, according to article 226 of the Islamic Penal Code, “a murder is punishable (by gesas) only when the victim of the crime did not deserve to be killed, and if the victim deserved to be killed then the person committing the murder must prove so to the court according to the law.”

Where in the world does a law allow the killing of human beings and then putting the murderer on trial to prove that the victim deserved to be killed? Which international law allows courts to put a murdered and buried victim on trial while the individual has not had a chance to defend himself? READ MORE

There are plenty of other examples. Needless to say those laws can not be annulled as long as the criminal mafia and its circles are active in high official positions. However, coordinated, organized and peaceful efforts to remove such legal sanctions and licenses to kill intellectuals can pave the way for serious reviews in the country's criminal law. The time is now right for such reform while the international community and independent human rights organizations are focused on Iran's human rights violations.

In a country where human rights violations are justified by laws, the widespread exposure of human rights violations take utmost priority.