The Mockery and Barbarism of Iran’s “Judiciary”
by Jose Mario De Vega
I refer to “Iran: Death Sentence for Facebook Posts”, the Human Rights Watch, December 2nd with regard to the “imminent risk of execution” of a 30-year-old man for “insulting the prophet”.
I concur with the Human Rights Watch’s position that “Iran’s judiciary should vacate the death sentence of a 30-year-old man who faces imminent execution for Facebook posts linked to his account.”
Eric Goldstein, the deputy Middle East and North Africa director said that:
“It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting…”
“Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalize peaceful free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.”
As narrated by the said report:
“On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to hang. The court transferred his file to the judiciary’s implementation unit, opening the way for his execution.
“A Tehran criminal court had convicted him in August of sabb al-nabbi, or “insulting the prophet,” referring to the Prophet Muhammad, which carries the death penalty. Arabi’s legal team has asked the judiciary to suspend the death sentence and review the case.
“Nastaran Naimi, Arabi’s wife, told Human Rights Watch that intelligence agents linked with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested her and her husband at their home in Tehran in November 2013. They soon released her but transferred her husband to a special section of Evin prison that the Revolutionary Guards control, where they kept him in solitary confinement for two months, subjected him to long interrogation sessions, and prevented him from meeting his lawyer, she said. They later transferred Arabi to Ward 350 of Evin prison.”
Did the so-called “supreme court” put into consideration the vital fact that the accused were kept in solitary confinement?
Putting or placing a detainee in solitary confinement is not allowed under international law.
Such practice is a grave violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
I say that it is a violation of the Convention against torture, because isolating an individual detainee from the rest is a form of mental and psychological torture.
Worst, the bastard Iranian so-called Revolutionary Guards did so, in two brutal months.
Is the so-called court aware that the accused were subjected to long interrogation sessions?
Is the so-called court has any idea that besides the fact that the accused were placed in solitary confinement, subjected to long interrogation hours, he was also deliberately denied seeing and conferring with his lawyer?
All of these acts are violations of the constitutional, civil and international rights of the accused.
Base on all these violations to the rights of Arabi, he, as a matter of right is entitle to an acquittal!
Yet, the bloody idiotic and bastard court, instead of doing that not only affirmed the judgment of the lower court, worst it even inserted another offense or crime to the prejudice of Arabi.
Grave Abuse of Discretion
Vahid Moshkhani, the lawyer of Arabi, told Human Rights Watch “that instead of upholding or overruling the lower court verdict, the Supreme Court unlawfully added the charge of efsad-e fel arz, or “sowing corruption of earth,” to Arabi’s case. In addition to carrying a possible death sentence, the charge also forecloses the possibility of amnesty, he said.”
It is a basic principle in criminal law, in all judicial trials, wherein said jurisdiction subscribe to the universal standard of justice and equity that a court which call itself a supreme court can only affirm or deny the judgment or ruling made by a lower court.
Said superior court, if it is truly fair and conforms to the international practice has no power whatsoever to change or modify or add up the allegation or the charge originally subject of the indictment to the prejudice of the accused.
Further, it has also no power to increase the penalty or punishment.
If A were charged originally for the crime of acts of lasciviousness (example: touching the breast of a woman by-stander), he on appeal cannot be charge by the higher court by the crime of rape.
Acts of lasciviousness is a lesser offense, while rape is a capital crime.
It is a well-entrenched rule in criminal law that the accused is only mandated to answer or reply to the allegation as stated or stipulated in the original complaint.
To answer another charge or accusation not included in the original complaint will be a violation of the constitutional right of the accused to know the nature and the cause of the accusation against him or her.
The bias and incompetence of the so-called supreme court of Iran
Moshkani, Arabi’s defense counsel said that the Supreme Court “rejected his client’s defense that he had not written many of the Facebook posts and that he was merely sharing others’ views on the social media site.”
The question here is:
Is the mere act of sharing others’ views on the social media site enough for the authorities to arrest this man and charged him of “insulting the prophet”?
What kind of fucking “law” is this?
However, Iran does have that fucking “law”!
Article 263 of the revised Islamic Penal Code expressly “provides that a person who “insults the Prophet” while drunk or by quoting others, among other acts, will be subjected to 74 lashes and not sentenced to death.”
Nonetheless, when the lower court handed its judgment, which was reviewed by the Human Rights Watch, said court “relied on Arabi’s confessions and “available images and printouts” attributed to his Facebook page, and concluded that his actions “constitute clear proof” that he insulted the Prophet Muhammad and should be sentenced to death.”
This is outrageous!
Art. 263 is clearly a blasphemy law which has no right to exist in any democratic and modern criminal statutes.
In the words of Robert Green Ingersoll:
“All laws defining and punishing blasphemy were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men.
“An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.”
The Question of “sowing corruption of earth”
What the fuck is that?
It is a basic rule in law, specifically in Statutory Construction that if a law is so vague and so bloody ambiguous, that law carries no force or effect whatsoever for being so pervasive and plenary.
The Iranian authorities instead of sentencing Arabi to death should have acquitted or at least discharged him!
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Philosophy and Social Science lecturer
Unibersidad de Manila
All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.
Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.