Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nothing Will Change in Iranian Prisons

Iranian blogger, Hossein Bastani, Roozonline: a reformist website.
Earlier this week, Iranian judiciary's oversight committee for observing citizen's rights submitted a report outlining violations of the rights of the accused and imprisoned. The report was covered extensively by national news networks. The report detailed the following types of abuses: instances of torture and beatings of detained individuals (including women); the use of illegal wire tapping, blind folds and solitary confinement (in as little as three square feet); the holding of detainees without charges or convictions for long periods of time; the possibility of attacks against female prisoners; the denial of access to individuals arrested by the Sepah military forces (including denial of access by members of the judiciary.)

Some analysts declare the report a step forward in securing civil rights. While one may partake of their optimism, we must not forget that these types of mea culpas have been issued by the same organization on several occasions and contain nothing new. READ MORE

The report was prepared and submitted to the head of the judiciary Mr. Shahroudi who himself in a legal article published in 2001 stated, "Justice in our country cannot even compare to those of other third world countries. A divorce case might take twenty years while in another case a man has been ‘temporarily’ detained for twenty-one years. In total we detain over 600,000 individuals every year and hold them in prisons filled with filth, murders, disease, and moral corruption." He goes on to detail, "Many good and innocent people are arrested and through torture forced to sign confessions. By the time these individuals stand before a judge, they've gone through hell. We must we be wary of a system that is suppose to uphold justice if it is under the wrong influence or susceptible to corruption. Vindictive individuals must not be allowed to become judges!"

Four years have passed since Mr. Sharoudi's article was published. In that time Zahra Kazemi was arrested and died in custody from a blow to the head, Hossein Ghaziyan endures mental and physical torture, bloggers and political dissidents Akbar Ganji and Zarafshar resort to hunger strikes protesting for their rights. These are among the individuals whose cause has come to the media's attention. Many others suffer under worse conditions.The recently issued report recounting civil rights abuses of detainees by the judicial system and its operatives is simply a repeat of a periodic public relations campaign and will not yield any changes. As long as the judicial system remains a self-policing entity no ground will be gained in the protection of citizen’s rights.