2 November 1989
Agenda item 12
REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly the interim report prepared by Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl (EI Salvador), Special Representative of the Commission on Hunan Rights on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in accordance with paragraph 14 of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/66 of 8 March 1989 and Economic and Social Council, decision 1989/L48.of 24 May 1989.
Interim report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, prepared by the Special- Representative of the Commission on Human Rights in accordance with Commission resolution 1989/66 and Economic and Social Council decision
I. INTRODUCTION 1-6
II. COMMI’NICATIONSWITII TIIE GOVERNMET.XT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN 7-16
A. Written communications 7-14
B. Conversations with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran 15-16
III. INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO TITE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE 17-89
- Oral. information 17-57
1. Witnesses presented by armed opposition groups 21-43
2. Witnesses whose appearance was facilitated by the Iranian Government 44-52
3. Baha’i witnesses ... 53-57
B. Written information 58-89
1. Information provided by the Iranian government ... 59-62
2. Information provided by other sources 63-89
- Right to Life. .. 63-73
- Right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 74-78
- Information concerning the situation of followers of the Baha’i Faith. 79-89
IV. COMMENTS AND VIEWS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN 90-96
V. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 97-129
I. NAMES AND PARTICULARS OF PERSONS ALLEGEDLY EXECIXTED IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN IN THE SECOND HALF OF 1988 AND AHE BEGINNING OF 1989, SUPPLEMENTARY TO THE IIST CONTAINED IN DOCWENT E/CN.4/L989/26 LIST PROVIDED BZ NON-GOVERNMENTAL SOURCES
II. NAMES AND PARTICULARS OF PERSONS VICTIMS OF TERRORIST ATTACKS, LIST PROVIDED BY TITE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT
III. LIST OF NAMES AND PARTICUTARS OF PERSONS Allegedly ARRESTED, REARRESTED OR EXECII1ED PROVIDED BY A WI1NESS
IV. OPEN LETTER PROVIDED BY A WITNESS
1. As its forty-fifth session, the Commission on Human Rights decided, by its resolution 1989/66 of 10 March 1988, to extend the mandate of the Special Representative, as contained in Commission resolution 1984/54 of 14 March 1984, for a further year and requested the Special Representative to present an interim report to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a final to the commission at its forty-sixth session (para.14). In its decision 1989/148 of 24 May 1989, the Economic and social Council endorsed that resolution.
2. Previously the General Assembly had decided, by its resolution 43/137 of December 1988, to keep under consideration the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran during its forty-fourth session on the basis or additional information that night be presented to the Commission on Human Rights and the Economic and Social Council (para, 13).
3. In compliance with paragraph 14 of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/66 and in response also to the General Assembly’s decision to keep the question under consideration on the basis of additional information, the Special Representative submits herewith his interim report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The General Assembly welcomed the intention of the Special Representative to consider several issues pertaining to the legal system in the Islamic Republic of Iran (resolution 43/137, para. 9). In that connection, the Special Representative states that his final report to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-fifth session included an analysis of that question (E/CN.4/1889/26, paras. 22-57)
4. As in previous years, the interim report concentrates on oral and written communications with government officials and on events involving human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and their repercussions in the international sphere and concludes with general observations. In his final report the Special Representative intends to consider more general questions, both factual and doctrinal, including the points of view contained in the letters from the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs transmitted on 26 June and 12 September 1889, which are reproduced in this report, and the official opinions to be presented in coming months, particularly those relating to the application of international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international conventions, as well as the declarations which may be made by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran before the termination of his mandate.
5. In order to facilitate comparison, this interim report is arranged in the same way as previous reports, and is accordingly divided into five sections: introduction (sect. I), communication between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Special Representative (sect. II), written and oral information received by the Special Representative after the renewal of his mandate (sect. III), considerations regarding opinions expressed by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran during the discussion of the item by the commission on Human Rights (section. IV), general observations (section. V) and annexes.
6. The Special Representative wished to point out that, as in previous years, the interim report has been planned and written as the first part of the final report, owing to the relatively short interval between the preparation of the two reports.
II. COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
- Written communications
- On 15 March 1989, the Chargé d’affaires of the permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the united Nations office at Geneva addressed the following letter to the Special Representative:
"In reference to paragraphs 11 and 12 of your final report on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the 45th Session of the commission on human Rights, document. E/CN.4/1989/26, enclosed please find the English translation of the text of a letter by Mr. Saeed Shahsavandi, former Member of the Central committee of the ‘Mujahedin Khalq Organization’ to Le Monde, dated 15 February 1989, Mr. Shahsavandi was captured while taking part in the MKO’s military incursion into the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran in July 1998.
For a summary of the letter referred to above, see paragraph 61 below
8. By note verbale, dated 26 June 1989, the permanent Mission forwarded to the Special Representative the following letter addressed to him by Mr. Mohammad Hossein Lavasani, Deputy Minister for International Affairs:
"In reference to your report No: E/CN.4,/L989/26 dated 26 January 1989, regarding [the] situation of human rights in Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran wishes to draw your attention to the following observations on recommendations and suggested measures regarding the ‘pending problems’ as itemized in paragraph 77 of the aforementioned report.
"1. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s extension of ‘full co-operation to the Special Representative for a total fulfilment of his mandate, including a visit to the Country’.
"It must be recalled that before the preparation of the final report and the submission of the suggestions and recommendations to the 45th session of Commission on Human Rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran as an innovative measure, originally proposed the adoption of a consensus, instead of a biased and politically motivated resolution, under which the Islamic Republic of Iran would have been committed to fully co-operate with the special Representative in all respects.
"Unfortunately, however, this proposal which was aimed in all honesty at removing the stalemate in resolving the ‘pending problems’ was simply ignored, only to satisfy the political motivations of certain malignant Western sponsors of the resolution,
"It is, therefore, quite strange that the subject of Iran’s full co-operation with the Special Representative is not only repeated here in the report but also recommended ‘as a matter of urgency’, without even alluding in passing to the self-serving, obstructionist policies of certain sponsors of the resolution.
"2. Investigating ‘all allegations of human rights violations and (reporting) in detail on the results of such investigation’.
"Lists such as the one in the annex to the report No: E,/CN.4,/1989/26 of the Special Representative could very easily be prepared by any opposition group who bear no commitment to the Constitution and respectable values of the country.
"Definitely, the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot, and will not, hold itself committed to answering allegations originated from certain terrorist groups and war-time traitors who have brutally murdered, through self-professed terrorist as well as military operation, thousands of defendants of their own country and fellow countrymen, and have treacherously engaged in espionage activities for the enemy.
"So long as the Commission’s information is virtually based on the self-serving, politically motivated allegations of certain armed terrorists to the extent that 7 out of 8 so-called witnesses and claimants of human rights violations in Iran bear their membership in the armed, fifth-column group of hypocrites, i.e., the self-proclaimed Mujahedeen, there remains no room for responding to such baseless allegations. Allegations of human rights violations can be raised only and only after the terrorists have been excluded as the source of information from the fact-finding and information-gathering system of the Commission on Human Rights, for the very holding of meeting with these groups and acquiring information from them is in effect a way of granting recognition to terrorists and sanctioning terrorism.
"Nonetheless, as an indication of its good-will in co-operating with the Special Representative, the Islamic Republic of Iran, having reviewed the list of names annexed to the final report, announces that 140 out of the total list of persons alleged to have been executed in Tehran are forgeries and virtually non-existent individuals, which clearly proves the information provided by the terrorist groups to be purely false and to have been conveyed only for self-serving political purposes, Needless to point out that any single forgery suffices to discredit the source of information.
"3. Ensuring that ‘the prison regime conforms to international standards and that prisoners are not subjected to unjustified or unnecessary hardships ‘.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, inspired by the exalted Islamic teachings, laws, and regulation, always finds itself morally obligated to observe humanitarian considerations in her treatment of prisoners and to prevent any ill-treatment. The Islamic Republic of Iran has 60 far extended substantial efforts in the rehabilitation and personality development of the prisoners.
"While the Israeli and South African governments, with confirmations and practical supports of these very sponsors of the show of adopting repetitious resolutions on the so-called human rights violations, relentlessly, and with impunity, perpetrate the most horrible tortures and the worst conceivable kinds of treatment in their prisons, there is indeed great cause for regret to see that those countries which have staged the strongest campaign against tortures in Israel and South Africa are being accused of ill-treatment and torture instead of the real culprits.
4. Suppressing ‘ill-treatment and torture, during both investigation and imprisonment’.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically denies the question of torture of prisoners and detainees. Issues of this sort, unfortunately, have frequently been presented by certain terrorist groups as first-hand information to the Commission and have subsequently formed the basis for the reports of the Special Representative and for the judgments of certain countries.
"As mentioned earlier, so long as armed terrorists and war-time traitors constitute the source of information for the Commission, such politically motivated allegations will not be worth considering much less responding to.
"The punishments currently practiced in Iran under Ta’zirat after a verdict by court of law, as also publicly reported in Iranian newspapers, which have been presented by certain terrorist groups as documents of human rights violations, are entirely based on indisputable laws and regulations stipulated in the Islamic legal system. Having been derived from the Islamic judicial system and having met the consensus of all Islamic sects and persuasions throughout the world, they are being enforced in some other Islamic countries as well.
"Under no circumstances will the Islamic Republic of Iran ever give up the practice of such divine laws and standards which constitute the fundamental tenets of the belief system among one billion Moslems in the world and which must duly be regarded as a credible legal system in the world.
"5. Limiting use of death penalty strictly to the most serious crimes, (exempting) from death penalty those under 18 years of age and (replacing) punishments involving torture by punishments compatible with international standards’.
"By its divine outlook, the Islamic judicial system embodies far more superior values than any other judicial system for man and life. The practical application of this system has been designed in such a way as to effectively safeguard the human values in a comprehensive manner and to remove impediments to individual growth and exaltation for mankind.
"Within the Islamic law, the unjustified slaying of even a single individual is being considered as tantamount with a cataclysm or destruction of the population as a whole; the Holy Quran stipulates: ‘whoever lays a soul, unless it be for man’s laughter or mischief in the land, is as though he slew all men’ (5:32).
"Undoubtedly, no other system, not even present international laws and standards, has ever placed such a higher, exalted value on man’s life. Imposition of death penalty in the Islamic Republic of Iran, therefore, is permitted only and only within this divine framework for maintaining human values and for preserving the integrity of human society as a whole.
"It must be pointed out that in order to limit the use of a death penalty many obstacles have been provided in this system, such as paying Diveh (blood money/restitution) and carrying out the regulation of Ghesameh (swearing), to ensure that fewer people receive death penalty. The long process of confirming a death sentence from the lower courts to the appellate courts, the highest judicial court and finally to the Supreme Judicial Council consisting of several competent, outstanding lawyer[s] is a further evidence of built-in concerns within the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide legal guarantees for limiting death sentences. Furthermore, death penalty is also practiced in many other countries based on their own particular penal codes and judicial systems and cannot be considered as something peculiar to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finally, the question of violating international standards by the Islamic Republic of Iran, we believe, has been raised not due to honest concern over justice or over violations of international regulations but only and only because of politically motivated interests of some particular states which unfortunately seek to impose their political hegemony in almost all international organizations, It is clearly observed that while certain states have frequently demonstrated their utmost disrespect and indifference towards international norms and standards and have immensely and relentlessly violated human rights, no practical action has ever been taken against them by appropriate international bodies. This phenomenon clearly indicates that the states which self-servingly spread charges of human rights violations apparently view international standards not as a set of values in human relations but simply as a lever of pressure to achieve their own political interest.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, in view of the aforementioned facts, announces that investigation of the situation of human rights in different countries as conducted by the Commission on human Rights is tainted by certain political interests and consequently does not follow its proper, just course.
"Nonetheless, as it has also previously demonstrated its sincerity at forty-third session of the General Assembly, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always sought to resolve this problem and to fully co-operate with the Commission. The Islamic Republic of Iran, in this respect completely fulfilled its obligations. According recognition by the Commission to the false information provided by certain terrorists and armed spies, which in effect sanctioned their action, on the one hand, and the selective, discriminating approaches by the Commission as demonstrated clearly at the 45th Session of the Commission during the adoption of the resolutions under item 12, on the other hand, created obstacles in the way of full co-operation.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is, therefore, looking forward to the removal of this great obstacle for laying the ground for our full cooperation."
- By a note verbale, dated 26 June 1989, the Permanent Mission also transmitted to the Special Representative a note by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which read as follows :
"In reference to your report No: E/CN. 4/1989 / 26 concerning [the] situation of human rights in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran would like to draw attention to the following points regarding the annexed list of names [of persons] supposedly executed in Iran.
"It is quite obvious that those who commit offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies are punishable according to the statutory laws in each country, and, in our case, they have been punished according to the Islamic standards.
"Since the judicial system in each state is enforced independently, the Islamic Republic of Iran, therefore, does not hold itself obliged to answer questions which directly violate this axiom. On the other hand, lists such as the one annexed lo your Excellency’s report could very easily be prepared by any opposition group who bear no commitment toward the Constitution and the established values in their country.
"In this connection, it is instructive to refer to 140 forged names and particulars in your annexed list, who prove as false and baseless all allegations of your sources and which, even taken individually, suffice to discredit such sources. These forged names and particulars have been pointed out here (in the attached list) as they had appeared in the annex to your report. “
Forged Names and Particulars of Persons allegedly executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the period of July-September 1988, as they appear in the original report
- On 12 and 13 July 1989, the Special Representative held hearings with 22 persons who claimed to have direct knowledge and experience relating to the various aspects of the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Subsequently, the Special Representative addressed two letters, dated 29 August 1989 and 22 September 1989, to the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations office at Geneva informing him of those hearings and transmitting summaries of the statements made by the witnesses. These summaries are reflected in section III of the present report.
- The letter dated 29 August 1989 addressed to the Permanent Representative read as follows:
"I have the honour to refer to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/66 concerning the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran (text attached). As you know, the commission on Human Rights decided to extend my mandate for a further year and requested me to present an interim report to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session and a final report to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-sixth session. Resolution 1989/66 was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council in decision 1989/148 of 24 May 1989.
"In this connection, I should like to inform you that, during my visit to Geneva from 10 to 18 July 1989, I conducted, in the framework of my mandate under Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/66, a series of informal hearings with 22 persons who claimed to have first-hand knowledge and experience of various aspects of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A summary of the allegations made in the course of these hearings will be made available to you by the Secretariat in due course.
"I would greatly appreciate receiving any information or comments that your Government may wish to provide with regard to these allegations.
"I should also like to inform you that I will again visit the Centre for Human Rights in Geneva from 18 to 22 September 1989 in connection with the preparation of my interim report to the General Assembly. I hope that a meeting may be arranged between us on that occasion in order to continue our dialogue.”
12. The letter dated 22 September 1989 addressed to the Permanent Representative read as follows:
"In pursuance of my letter dated 29 August 1989, I have the honour to transmit herewith a summary of the allegations made in the course of the informal hearings I recently conducted in the framework of my mandate under Commission on Human Rights resolution 1989/66. The above-mentioned summary reflects statements made by persons who claimed to have first-hand knowledge and experience of various aspects of the human Rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
"Any information, documents or observations that your Government may wish to provide with regard to these allegations would be greatly appreciated. In this connection, I should like to recall that my mandate as first established by the commission on Human Rights in resolution 1984/54 and extended for the last time in resolution 1989/66 requires me to make a thorough study of the human rights situation in your country based on such information as I may deem relevant, including comments and materials provided by your Government, to be presented to the Commission at its forty-sixth session.
"I should also like to inform you that I shall visit the Centre for Human Rights from 8 to 12 January in connection with the preparation of my final report to the Commission. I hope that on that occasion, a meeting may again be arranged between us to continue our dialogue’,
- By a note verbale, dated 12 September 1989, the permanent Mission forwarded to the Special Representative a letter addressed to him by Mr. Mohammad Hossein Lavasani, Deputy Minister for International Affairs, which read as follows:
"Before anything else, please allow me to convey to you my satisfaction and pleasure for your cooperation in providing necessary facilities for the meeting of the special human rights delegation with Your Excellency at the office of the United Nations. Without doubt, this meeting was materialized as a result of the intention of the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand cooperative relations with the Special Representative with a view to enlarging his knowledge, and the desire of Your Excellency to obtain true and correct information. The group that met with you was only an indicative example of numerous other similar cases in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, the persons who met you were the messengers for numerous bereaved fathers, mothers and wives in Iran with the sincerest sentiments and while still suffering from the pain and distress caused by the violation of the most fundamental rights of their dear ones, that is, the right to life, each one of then revealed undeniable cases that demonstrated the savage nature and cruelties of terrorists, Naturally, the least that can be expected from the meeting with you of the relatives of the victims of the atrocities of the terrorists and armed groups in Iran is the reflection of cases of violation of human rights and crimes of criminal organizations in the international fora so that the public may become aware of the acts of violence committed by these groups. You heard the revelations of the families of the victims of terrorism and the admissions of the former members of the ‘People’s Mujjahedin Organization’ in explaining their dastardly acts, and have also seen all the documents.
"You probably agree that meeting with members of a terrorist group and receiving false information from them would give credit to then and their activities, and encourage them to commit further terrorist acts. Condemnation of legal actions in Iran and censuring the implementation of Islamic punishment meted out to murderers of innocent persons constitute indifference of and disregard to pains and sufferings of those whose representatives met with you.
"I hope the contacts and cooperation with the Special Representative, which are desired by the Islamic Republic of Iran, will produce desirable results and will further reveal the realities and facts in Iran as well as the resulting adverse consequences of defending and supporting terrorists groups.
"Considering that you have become familiar with the part of the realities regarding the presence and the way terrorists act in Iran, we can therefore expect that Your Excellency, as the Special Representative, will use different means available to you to direct the Human Rights Commission toward understanding and true support of human rights. Allow me to once again reaffirm the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate with the Special Representative."
- On 21 September 1989, the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed the following letter to the Special Representative.
"I have the honour to communicate to you the enclosed list of 1611 innocent people who have been martyred by the terrorist and mercenary groups and organizations, particularly, the so-called People’s Mujahedeen Organization ( PMO) .
"I would greatly appreciate if you would consider it in your forthcoming report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The above-mentioned fist is reproduced in annex III to the present report.
- Conversations with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- As the dialogue with the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran has broadened, communications have become quick and continuous, since contact has taken place not only through visits to the diplomatic offices of the Islamic Republic of Iran or United Nations offices but frequently by telephone. This informal and direct means of communication has been particularly effective as regards arrangements for the appearance of witnesses and advance announcement of activities relating to proceedings.
- On 19 and 22 September 1988 the Special Representative met with Ambassador Sirous Nasseri, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva. On those occasions pending problems relating to the implementation of his mandate were discussed.
III. INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
A. Oral information
17. On 10, 12 and 13 July 1989, the Special Representative conducted hearings during which 22 individuals described their experiences in Iranian prisons, their court appearances and their knowledge of what had happened to members of their families and other individuals. Eleven of the witnesses stated that they were sympathizers of the People’s Mojahedin, three witnesses referred to the death of very close relatives through action attributed to the above-mentioned Mojahedin, and two of the witnesses stated that they were former militants of the Mojahedin organization who had given up their political militancy after their terms in prison. For reasons of security, the former militants asked that their identities not be revealed. Five other witnesses, who also asked that their names not be revealed, were Baha’is.
- It should be pointed out that for the first time the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran sponsored the appearance of witnesses, whose testimony differed considerably from the experience reported by other witnesses who had appeared in previous years and the current year.
- The statements that follow were made by witnesses in the course of oral depositions. The summary of this testimony reproduces as faithfully as possible the language and mode of expression of the witnesses examined. The Special Representative considers that further investigation will be necessary before he is personally convinced of the truth of some of these statements.
20. The summary of the testimony follows. It is divided into three subsections, in order to maintain the distinctions between the organizations which acted as sponsors of the witnesses’ appearance.
1. Witnesses presented by armed proposition groups
- On 10 and 12 July 1989 the Special Representative conducted informal hearings in the course of which 10 persons who claimed to have first-hand knowledge of various aspects of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran related their experience. These persons described themselves as sympathizers of the Mojahedin organization. They were, in order of appearance before the Special Representative: Mariam Torabi, Shansi Roshanah, Shahrzad Alavi-Shahidi, Roghieh Jaberi, Yazdian-Azad Kobra, Ghorban-Ali Torabi, Fattaneh Ayaz-Poor, Zahra Sarayi and Abdef-Hamid Emani. Two witnesses requested that their nanes be kept confidential.
- All of the above-mentioned persons stated that they had spent from one to eight years in prison. All of these persons also affirmed that during their incarceration they had been subjected to torture and had witnessed other prisoners being tortured. The dates of arrest indicated ranged from 1982 to 1987. One of those arrested in 1982 was not released from jail until November 1988.
- They stated that they had witnessed prisoners being executed and tortured to death. They also alleged that they had not only been subjected to physical ill-treatment but also to psychological torture to such an extent that some of them had become internationally. They asserted that there has been a change in the method of torture during the fast year, psychological torture having largely substituted physical torture.
24. The witnesses further stated that they had met several prisoners who had become demented as a result of psychological torture and were kept together with other prisoners in the same cells. Some of the mentally ill had been driven to commit suicide others had been manacled to the carts distributing food and paraded in the prison. Their cries and behaviour were used as a demoralization factor against other detainees. New detainees were placed with the mentally disturbed prisoners and in some cases the mentally ill attacked the others.
25. During those hearings, two prison officials were charged with inflicting torture: Haji Davod Rashmain, warden of the Oezel-Hessar prison in Tehran, who is currently head of the Information Bureau of the Prosecutor’s Office at Evin Drison anal Asghar Ja’afari, warden of the Gohardasht prison.
26. It was reported that, during the wave of executions in the second part of 1988, many prisoners had seen their sentences changed to capital punishment, a great number of them having been tried for a second tine after serving a previous sentence. Released prisoners had been rearrested, tried again and sometimes executed. Usually the time served during preventive arrest was not taken into account and the prison term became effective from the date of the sentence only. During the afore-mentioned wave of executions, family visits had been barred for three to four months. Some detainees were released, however, under certain conditions, usually a bait of about §US 25,000 and the obligation to report back to jail periodically.
- According to the witnesses, families and relatives of the executed persons were frequently not told the whereabouts of their places of burial and on several occasions, protests by families lead to further arrests. From 1988 onwards, several families of female political prisoners had received from administrative officials a certificate of marriage of their imprisoned daughters. These certificates concerned female prisoners who had allegedly been raped before execution.
28. One witness, who wished to remain anonymous, reported the arrest of a woman under the charge of wearing inappropriate clothing (not conforming with officially admitted colours, such as black and grey) and in one case, a woman who was clothed decently, was jailed because she had taken a taxi alone.
- One witness, Roghieh Jaberi, reported that she took close cognizance of the suicide of one person who drank cleaning fluid, of another who changed herself and of a third who cut her wrists. She also testified to the extreme mental and physical pressure brought upon prisoners who lived in the so-called "residential units" (non-official, prisons), a part of Qezel-Hessar prison near Tehran, where female prisoners were submitted to psychological torture aimed at driving them mad.
- She also reported that throughout her five and a half years of captivity she had been tortured several times, the method consisting of beating and whipping by cables. She said she was put on trial twice and described the procedure as follows: The first trial, during which she was blindfolded, took five minutes only and she was sentenced to one and a half years in prison. At the end of this term, instead of being released, she was tried again because she had refused to appear on official television. She was condemned to a further term of three years on the charge of being a resistant prisoner. She was released one year and a half after having served the second sentence, i.e., by the end of 1987.
- Mrs. Roghieh Jaberi further stated that about two months before her release a hunger strike took place in Evin prison in protest against the poor quality of food and living conditions. After her release she learned that all hunger strikers had been put in solitary confinement and had been tortured; some of them had even been executed. A few of her cellmates who were released had been arrested and shot in the second half of 1988. She indicated the following names of former cellmates who were rearrested and sentenced to death: Mariam Mohammadi, Bahman Abadi, Tamineh Setoodeh, Kheirieh Saffaii, Shekar Mohamma-Zadeh, Zoreh Mir-Esmaeli, Mahin Amadi, Zahra Saffaii, Soheila Shams-Zadeh, Mehri Rahimi. Foroozan Abdi, Rogieh Akberi, Ashraf Khodaii, Foroshtch Hamidi, Zahra Bijan Yar, Nasrin Kamal-Zadeh, and Mahnaz Karani.
- Another witness, who wished to remain anonymous because of the continuing detention of his wife and eight-year-old daughter who had unsuccessfully attempted to leave the country illegally reported that his trial took a few minutes with no defence available. He said that he had served five years of imprisonment and was released in September 1987 subject to a financial guarantee. He also reported on the fate of several fellow prisoners as follows: All-Taher Jooyan lost his mental balance owing to the severity of torture and set fire to himself, carrying serious injuries, which led to his death; another one, named Ali Haghverdi, after losing his senses as a result of torture was shot in one of the mass executions of political prisoners. The witness further asserted that in many cases relatives of executed prisoners there not told of the burial places and on several occasions their protests had led to further arrests. He also reported having witnessed that persons who were about to be hanged had shouted that they were not drug smugglers but political prisoners.
- Shahrzad Alavi Shahidi declared that she was arrested in November 1981, was held in prison until April 1988 and left the country in March 1989 she said that during her first nine months in prison she was routinely beaten and lashed; and when one of her feet became infected she was refused medical treatment on the pretext that there was no need as she would soon be executed. After nine months’ detention without charge, she was taken to trial blindfolded. The trial took about five minutes and she was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. She was reinterrogated in 1984 for 10 days and at that time was kicked on her head. As a result, her left ear was severely damaged. She showed the Special Representative the scars left by the infected wounds on the sole of left foot.
- Shahrzad Alavi Shahidi further testified that she had witnessed the killing under torture of Sara Mokhtarzadeh, Soheila Yavarzadetr and Homa Mesbahi, as well as the torture of a 1O-year-old girl in a wheelchair whose name she did not know. She reported too the case of Rafat Khatid, a female prisoner, who as a result of torture, including rape, became mad, was not given proper care and finally committed suicide in Evin prison in November 1988.
35. The same witness also referred to executions that she said had taken place in the second half of 1988. She said that she had witnessed the execution of a group comprising 74 prisoners. Subsequently, other groups of prisoners were taken to a room which had been turned into a temporary court room; there, a religious judge asked each prisoner the following question: "In connection with which organization were you arrested? "If the reply was the Mojahedin organization. The judge would issue immediately an execution sentence. Families and relatives of the executed persons were kept uninformed for lengthy periods of time. On one occasion, 200-300 families and relatives of prisoners were invited to Evin prison; they were then given sweets and subsequently had to witness the execution of their relatives. In another case, a prisoner named Nemati who had served many years in Gohardash prison was waiting for his release; one day before the set date his family was requested to go to the prison, where, instead of his release, they learned of his execution. According to the witness, cases similar to this were numerous.
36. Another witness, fattneh Avaz-Poor, stated that, while in captivity in Evin prison in the second half of 1988, she had watched the death under torture of two women named Mariam Shaghari and Ghodai Hava-Keshian, who had been serving prison terms. She said she had also witnessed the torture of a 5?-year-old woman arrested in 1987, and that she saw a 10-year-old girl who had to be carried in a wheelchair because torture had damaged her legs.
37. Shamai Rosharani reported that when she was arrested, her interrogation took 21days, during which 6he was blindfolded all the time. She stated that she was not told why she had been arrested and was regularly lashed with cables; her five-month-old baby was with her. Several months later, he was taken away from her and given without her consent to her mother. Her trial by a religious judge took 15 minutes without the assistance of a defence council. She was sentenced to three years in prison and the judge told her that the two years she had already served were not to be counted. She was released after five years of imprisonment.
- Ms. Rosharani also reported the severe torture and eventual execution of a female prisoner, named Batul Akbari. As a result of the torture, Mrs. Akbari could hardly walk and one of her shoulders was broken. Another female prisoner, named Razieh Ayatollah-Zadeh Shirazi, whom the witness had known earlier, was put in solitary confinement. She was pregnant and was refused sufficient food after giving birth, the prison guards took the baby away and told her that the baby had been born dead. The witness said that she had also watched the torture of another woman called Razieh, who was executed in 1988.
- Yazdian-Azad Kobra reported that in 1988 about 110 female political prisoners were executed in the ward of Evin prison. She also said that she had witnessed the execution of a number of prisoners and that the following executed women had shown marks of torture on the soles of their feet: Mahboobeh Kiaei, Azadeh Tabib, Soodabeh Mnsoori, Hoorieh Beheshti-Taber and Razieh Ayatotlah-Zadeh Shirazi.
- Another witness, Abdel-Hamid Emani, reported the names of some of his cellmates who were executed in the second half of 1988: Syed Reza Mir-Karimi, Ali Akbar Ebrahim-Poor, Nejat Khatir Sameni, Feizollah Akbari, Karim Mallahi and Talmoores Rahim-Nezad, and said that others had been executed more recently, such as Behzad Kordi, Issa Mazni, parviz Taghi-zadeh, Bahma Eghbal Maghbooli and Hamid Shaeri.
- In her deposition, Mariam Torabi reported that in August 1988 a man named Malek Shabani, formerly a political prisoner, was captured allegedly by government agents in the city of Bandar Gaz. His parents and relatives frequently inquired from officials about his fate but no information concerning his whereabouts had yet been given. In addition, in the second half of 1988, Feizal Allah-Akbar, who was serving a sentence of eight years’ imprisonment, was executed a few months before the date of his release. The guards refused to tell his parents about the place of burial. Mariam Torabi also stated that another long-serving prisoner called Behzad Kianpoor was recently executed in the city of Bandar Gas and that a political prisoner named Soltani lost his mental balance under torture and was subsequently released.
- In respect of allegations that political prisoners were hanged under the pretext of being drug traffickers, Ms. Torabi reported having witnessed several executions at Hashemi and Monirieh Square. Tehran, where the prisoners before being hanged had shouted that they were not drug traffickers but Mojahedin supporters. She mentioned in particular the cases of two brothers, one of then called Nasser Mohammad Tachi, and two other persons, one of them called Hossein, who were executed on charges of drug smuggling. Later, Mr, Tachi’s family was informed that "his execution had been carried out mistakenly". The guards returned his belongings and informed the family of the number of the plot in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery where he had been buried. Due to the mistake, recognized by prison officials the family received permission for a funeral.
- According to the testimony of several witnesses, manifestations of protest were handled with extreme severity, Protests about food and poor living conditions, which took place in autumn 1988 in Evin prison, had caused prison officials to react by administering daily beatings, solitary confinement, and even hangings. It was reported that hunger strikers named Ashraf Ahmadi, Razieh Ayatollah- Zadeh Shirazi, Mariam Golzadeh-Ghafoori and Zohreh Einolyaqin were summarily tried and hanged in front of other prisoners who were forced to watch the executions. In Cohardasht prison, cranes had been used to hang the striking prisoners.
2. Witnesses whose appearance was facilitated by the Iranian Governrnent
- On 17 July 1989, the Special Representative conducted hearings with five witnesses whose visit to Geneva was facilitated by the Iranian Government. Three had suffered the 1oss of family members and the other two claimed to have been former renumbers of the Mojahedin organization. The five requested that their names be kept confidential. The testimonies of these witnesses had as a common denominator the attribution of terrorist actions to the Mojahedin organization and the indication that the victims of such actions were both government officials and private individuals.
- A witness related how her son, after several death threats and attempts on his 1ife, was finally assassinated by agents of the Mojahedin organization. Two years later, her husband suffered the same fate. Immediately after the death of her son and her husband, the clandestine Mojahedin radio station had claimed responsibility for the assassinations. Acknowledging responsibility, the Mojahedin had also reported these executions in one of their publications.
- Another person stated that his 17-year-old son had been kidnapped. He ca1led the police to carry out investigations. One week later, three bodies were found by the police. One of these bodies was that of his son. He had been tortured to the extent that his identification was extrimely difficult. The Mojahedin, in one of their publications, later assumed responsibility for the death of his son. According to the witness, the sole apparent reason for the killing of this young man was his support for the Islamic revolution.
47. Another witness described how his two sons were killed by gunfire in the office of one the two, a dentist. He stated that the Mojahedin also took responsibility for the assassination and that the reasons behind this action were not clear; it could have been that his sons had treated persons who the Mojahedin considered as their enemies. According to the witness, these killings were also reported in Mojahedin publications.
- The fourth witness described himself as having formerly belonged to the Mojahedin organization. He said he had joined the organization because he was interested in participating in political activities. Afterwards he recognized that the organization was solely interested in military action. He realized his error in 1360 (198I) in the month of Khordat (22 May-21 June) when, before attending a demonstration, he was told to be armed and use his arm at his discretion. In the first clash, 13 to 14 men were killed; in this incident it had become clear to him that the Mojahedin organization believed that through military action they could overthrow the Government. One of their attacks consisted of a bomb placed in the office of the Islamic Republic Party. Another bomb had as its target, the prime minister and his deputy. These acts, however did not lead to the result the organization expected because the Government had broad popular support.
- The same witness stated that he had realized that, not only were those acts useless, but that through random violence many innocent people were killed. Once even a citizen of India was killed because he looked like somebody else. In 1361, while still a member of the organization, he participated in the kidnapping and torture of three persons. He estimated that about 57,000 persons were killed in 1364 (1986) and 1365 (1987) because of Mojahedin actions on the battlefront.
- The last witness stated that he would like to be acknowledged as the representative of the political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran, He had been arrested because of active support for the Mojahedin organization and participation before and after the Revolution in armed struggle. At the time of his arrest, he had commanded over 200 Mojahedin supporters. His arrest took place in a home used as a base for armed operations. During the fight, the superior of the group was killed. Answering a question, he advised that he was tried after a few months in prison and that he could have had legal counsel but he chose not to do so, as he recognized he was guilty of the criminal charges against him. When he was released, the sole condition imposed was to report once a month to the prison. Replying to further questions, he stated that his family did not suffer harassment and that his home had not been pillaged. His personal experience derived from his detention in Evin and Ghesil Hesar (Koralli) prisons.
- He indicated that he would concentrate his testimony on three main issues: executions and punishment, treatment of prisoners and facilities and education in prisons. He stated that, according to his experience, persons guilty of murder as a rule would be executed. He had encountered in prison persons who had participated in various killings. One of them was Mehdi Fatha, a member of the military operations of the Mojahedin. This man acknowledged that he had participated in four killings and that when arrested he was in possession of two hand grenades.
- According to his experience and judgement, treatment in Iranian prisons was by and large humanitarian, especially in regard to female prisoners. Difficulties with guards were taken care of by officers, generally in the framework of general discussions with the staff. The conditions in prisons were similar to the general living conditions in the country, which were characterized by certain shortages due to the war. The treatment given to prisoners, in particular, with regard to sanitary and educational facilities, was the same as that enjoyed by the entire Iranian society. He stated that in some ways inmates often had better facilities than the rest of the civilian population, especially with regard to food supply, which at times had become problematic because of the war.
- Baha’i witnesses
- Five of the persons appearing before the special Representative were Baha’is.
They requested that their identity not be revealed. All of them described persecution and harassment to themselves and their families, such as denial of jobs and professional education and confiscation of property solely on religious grounds. Imprisonment for participating in Baha’i activities was reported to last as long as five years. All witnesses described brutal arrest, accompanied by searches of their homes and confiscation of goods, including religious objects and Literature.
- Usually arrest was followed by physical and psychological torture. Mock executions were frequently used method of psychological torture. Torture was used as an inducement to change faith, to confess links with the deposed monarchic regime or to confess spying for the benefit of foreign powers. One of the witnesses related how his father was sentenced to death by the presiding judge; however, the verdict was later changed by the Supreme Council in Tehran to 10 years in exile. A relevant document was submitted to the Special Representative.
- One person affirmed that he had witnessed a man of Baha’i faith die under torture, whereas the authorities had reported his death as suicide. Another person testified that Mr. Tolouï, an interrogator especially assigned to the interrogation of Baha’is, inflicted in Kernan such torture to one of the Baha’i prisoners that he later had to use a walking stick. Two other witnesses related how torture left them permanently mentally impaired. Three witnesses reported how they were beaten up and expelled from schools because of their faith.
56. The confiscation of homes and other properties was reported by two witnesses. One woman, owing to her Baha’i faith, had her government pension withdrawn leaving her and her family completely destitute. Trials against Baha’is continued to be described as extremely summary and sentences very harsh.
- One of the witnesses said that he had been drafted into the army despite his exemption due to a flatfoot. He was interrogated by the officer in charge of religious beliefs and was arrested after two weeks of leave at home. Incarcerated and finally taken before an Islamic magistrate. The magistrate accused him of having links with foreign powers and sent him to prison for two months. After his release, he was sent back to the army, interrogated again by the officer in charge of religious beliefs and then by the commanding officer. He was sent to the war front but decided to desert when another soldier warned him that he was going to be assassinated in such a manner as to give the impression that he had been killed in battle.
B. Written information
- The Special Representative has continued to receive written information contained in documents and reports supplied to him by the Iranian Government and various organizations devoted to the world-wide defence of human rights, including non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. The Special Representative also received more than 3,000 individual communications containing allegations of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the previous year. A summary of the relevant information follows:
1. Information provided by the Iranian Government
59. During the discussion of human rights in Iran, the Iranian representative expressed his point of view concerning the final report of the Special Representative before the Commission on Human Rights on 6 March 1989. On that occasion, the Iranian representative said that the official response to the annex of that report, which contains a list of persons executed during the second half of 1988, was being prepared. Pending the complete reply, he stated that 140 names on that list were false, as the names of the individuals said to have been executed did not appear in the registers of the prisons, hospitals or even cemeteries investigated. That fact indicated that those individuals had not been executed but had died in battle during the invasion of Iranian territory in July 1988.
- By a letter dated 15 March l989, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran transmitted a copy of a letter dated 15 February l989 sent by Mr. Saeed Shahsavandi, a former member of the Central Committee of the people’s Mojahedin Organization to the French newspaper Le Monde. Mr. Shahsavandi, a journalist by profession, was a member of the Central Committee of the above-mentioned organization from June 1985, took part in the armed incursion by his organization in July 1988, was taken prisoner and was spending seven months in prison when he wrote the letter, as he says, of his own volition and on his own initiative.
- According to his letter, Mr. Shahsavandi, a member of the organization for 20 years, worked in its publicity and propaganda office and in that capacity was responsible for the preparation for propaganda purposes of statements concerning 74 kinds of torture in Iranian prisons, the violation of women prisoners, the extraction of blood from those sentenced to death, the confinement of prisoners in small metal cells and their injection with morphine and other narcotics; he also affirmed, for the same purpose, the existence of an exaggerated number of political prisoners, amounting to 140,000, and alleged that 70,000 individuals had been executed from 1981 on. After his imprisonment he realized that the reality in the Iranian prisons was completely different. According to him, the real number of political prisoners was about 3,500, of whom 2,600 had been amnestied, leaving only about 900; he had, moreover, learned that amnesty proceedings for that small group of political prisoners were in progress.
- While he was completing his interim report, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran transmitted to the special Representative nine files concerning acts of terrorism and a List of individuals who had been the victims of terrorist acts during the past year. The list referred to is contained in annex II Information on the contents of the files will be included in the final report.
- Information provided by other sources
- Right to life
On 28 February 1989, an interview given to the Arab-language weekly Al Mostaqbal, published in Paris, by the senior Iranian political official responsible for internal security, was reproduced in major newspapers throughout the world. The following statement was attributed to that official. “To settle this matter once and for all, all those who have been arrested and those who agitated politically during the Bakhataran campaign have been executed according to the Islamic law. They declared war on the people. Because they killed, they were killed. All those who stated their support for the Mojahedin were executed. “That statement was understood and commented on as meaning that the imprisoned political dissidents had been purely and simply eliminated. Three days later, the same official denied those statements, claiming that he had said that “many members of the Mojahedine Khalq organization were killed or taken prisoner during the attack of last July", and attributed the statement quoted to the imagination of the journalist. The journalist, Hadar Assad, insisted, in turn, that his version was correct.
- From January 1989 on, there were reports of many executions for ordinary offences, considerably exceeding the previous figures for executions for this category of offences. Some figures will provide an idea of the increase in the number of executions for ordinary offences. In 1988 147 executions were officially announced for offences such as murder, rape, aggravated robbery and drug trafficking. Between January and May 1989, 250 executions were officially announced for those offences, apart from drug traffickers. The executions took place in public and in groups and on the same day in a number of cities. For example, 81 executions were reported on the same day, 27 of them in Tehran, and the remainder in other cities.
- Between January and May 1989, more than 900 executions were officially announced, most of them for drug trafficking. In subsequent months the Iranian national radio continued to announce the hanging of groups of drug traffickers, so that the total figure for executions may exceed 1,500 and is apparently increasing.
- The Iranian national press and radio reported that those executions took place in public places, generally by hanging. An Italian journalist took a photograph from his hotel room of eight corpses hanging from cranes used for public works, and a Turkish newspaper published the photograph.
67. The Iranian press and radio also reported that 26 executions took place by means of stoning. Fourteen of the 26 persons stoned to death were women convicted of adultery, prostitution or procuring. In April 1989, 12 women and three men were stoned to death on a football field, and apparently the spectators took part in the execution of the sentence. According to the Law in force, as explained and commented on on television, the stones used must not be so large that the person condemned dies quickly nor so small that they cannot be considered stones.
68. The Iranian Government has launched a campaign to eliminate drug traffickers. From 21 January 1989, a new law came into force which imposed the death penalty as the sole and mandatory punishment for individuals in possession of more than 5 kilograms of hashish or opium, or more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine, methadone or morphine.
- The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has also taken measures to speed up judicial proceedings in connection with that offence, with the goal of reducing the interval between the commission of the crime and the application of the death penalty to no more than 10 days. The country’s highest judicial authority stated on 20 January 1989 that the procedures now in effect involved long delays and too many formalities and legal steps before the verdict could be carried out, and that exceptions and loopholes should be eliminated. He concluded by saying that it was therefore necessary to expedite the trials so that they were over in three, four or five days, and the delinquent would know that "between the commission of the crime and the execution of the penalty there would be a maximum interval of ten days". In a statement on 10 February, the same high official noted that the judiciary was following the new directives and the prisoners were being executed within a very few days.
70. On 5 April 1989, the highest official in the Prosecutor’s Office said that 313 traffickers had been eliminated and that on the following day 65 more would be hanged. Commenting on those events, the high official added that the law had been applied with great success, the doubts that some groups had expressed at first had disappeared, and consequently the persecutions of drug traffickers would continue until the last trafficker had been eliminated.
71. The Iranian press has reported few political executions so far in 1989. However, many allegations have been received that the large number of executions for drug trafficking masks political executions. The Special Representative has received information that some political executions took place in secret, including executions during the first months of 1989.
- The Special Representative has received and taken note of the following written allegations: that in Tehran, four political prisoners belonging to the people’s Mojahedin organization, including a doctor, were hanged in Badeghien Plaza in January; that in February, seven political prisoners were hanged at Molavi Junction, three in Pirozzi Square, three in Haftchenar District, three in Shahpoour Square, and one in Hasheni Square, all people’s Mojahedin, that in March, three other political prisoners were hanged in the Nezamabad District of Tehran and five more in Sha Abdolazim Square. It is alleged that all the individuals executed were said to be drug traffickers when in reality they were political prisoners and were executed for political reasons. It has also been reported that 200 political prisoners executed in the city of Hamedan were falsely presented as drug traffickers. In some cases, the names had been given of individuals who were falsely called drug traffickers: Mahmoud Jabbarim executed in Qaywin, Homayoun Solati, hanged in Tehran, Ozman Baluchi, executed in Chah-Bahar. Two of this witnesses who appeared before the Special Representative this year stated, apparently without the slightest doubt or hesitation, that, while they were prisoners at the beginning of 1989 they saw that some of their prison comrades were listed as drug traffickers, when in reality they were political prisoners, and that they asserted this on the basis of direct personal acquaintance with those individuals.
- The official news agency, IRNA, reported that two persons had been executed in the city of Zahedan on 17 June "for plotting against national security". From various sources, it has been possible to draw up a list of some 1,700 individuals possibly executed, either for ordinary offences or for political offences. The sources include the family and friends of the victims and political opposition groups of varying tendencies, which agree that political executions are continuing.
In a reply to Amnesty International, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in New York stated the following: Indeed, authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have always denied the existence of any political executions. But that does not contradict other subsequent statements which have confirmed that spies and terrorists have been executed.”
(b) Right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
- According to the information received, a common form of torture continued to be flogging with cables and sometimes barbed-wires. Allegedly, flogging usually was applied to the sole of the foot and to the legs, and beating was usually inflicted by several prison guards.
- New methods of torture that left little or no trace on the body of the victims were described. Among these were: lashing all over the body (in the Long run the scars fend to disappear), suspension from the ceiling, mock hangings, crowding of prisoners in small rooms with high temperatures and insufficient oxygen. It was reported that some prisoners were burned by hot metal rods or by lighted cigarettes.
76. Another method of torture described was the refusal of medical treatment, using the pain from illness to break the will of the prisoners. For instance, prisoners with kidney malfunctions resulting from beatings were allegedly prevented from going to toilets. Prison conditions were described as extremely poor; cells as being small and deliberately overcrowded, and sanitary facilities were reportedly kept to a minimum, leading to skin, gall-bladder and other diseases. Medical assistance and medicine were also said to be insufficient and sometimes withheld until it was too late to save the life of a prisoner. Political prisoners were allegedly held together with common law prisoners and mental cases.
- According to the allegations received, a typical process of torture would start with lashes over the whole body, to be followed by mock hanging or suspension from the ceiling. Detainees were said to be held "en masse" in small closed rooms with high temperatures and insufficient oxygen. While such practices were being applied, the guards pressed the prisoners to repent and to appear on official television confessing their guilt.
78. Alleged forms of psychological torture including watching or listening to other prisoners being tortured, dissemination of false news about the death of family members or threat of rape. Attempts to incite prisoners to join in the torture of other inmates were also reported.
(c) Information concerning the situation of followers of the Baha’i faith
79. According to information received, together with the relevant details of names, places and dates of execution, 197 Baha’is were executed and 15 disappeared since 1979. As regards 1988, the execution has been reported of two individuals about whom there is no doubt whatever that they were Baha’is: Bihnam Pasha’i, a resident of Simnan, who had been imprisoned since 19 November 1983 and whose family was notified on 3 December 1988 of his execution in the Evin prison; and Iraj Afshin, arrested late in 1986, whose family learnt of his execution on 26 November 1988.
- At the beginning of January 1989, the international press published the report that two army generals sentenced to prison seven years earlier, Ardeshir Ardestani and Ali Jalayer, were executed on the charge that they were followers of the Baha’i faith. According to the press reports, the two generals were executed on 23 December 1988, together with 23 members of the Peopfe’s Mojahedin organization. The same cable announced the execution of Zohreh Ainalyagin, aged 27, who had been a candidate of the Mojahedin for the Iranian Parliament during the elections of 1980, had been sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment in 1981, and was a member of the political opposition.
- It has been estimated that in 1986 780 Baha’is remained in prison and that of those about 200 had been released on bail. In May 1989, reliable sources indicated that only 14 Baha’is remained in prison. Five of them had been arrested recently.
82. Those Baha’is who were expelled from government posts in the early 1980s, have reached the age of retirement and have an acquired right under law to retirement pensions, continue to be refused them. Nor have they been reinstated in their posts, even when they are qualified to fill then. Ranchers and farmers who profess the Baha’i faith continue to be denied admission to agricultural co-operatives.
- On the other hand, in certain respects the situation of the Baha’is has improved; for example, some shops which had been closed have been returned to their former proprietors, and the latter have been permitted to operate them. These reparation measures have been taken de facto, as the licences necessary for legal operation of the shops have not been renewed. A few cases have been recorded of other confiscated property being returned to its owners.
- Baha’i community property remains confiscated, Recently, the Baha’is have been permitted to bury their dead in cemeteries of their faith, which had been closed for a number of years. At present, few Baha’i cemeteries remain closed.
- Since 1988 many children and young people have been readmitted to primary and secondary schools, but they continue to be denied access to the universities. All Baha’is are refused passports or permits to travel abroad.
- The Ministry of Justice decree under which heirs must be officially certified as such remains in force, and such certification is denied to Baha’is, who consequently cannot take legal possession of their inheritances.
- The Special Representative has received a number of documents, duly signed and sealed by officials of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which testify to the situation of the Baha’is. These documents consist of the following: (a) a letter from the Department of Cereals, informing the addressee, a retired employee, that in accordance with a judicial order of 6 June 1987, he has been accused of belonging to "one of the groups that have strayed from Islam", that is, of being "a member of the Baha’i spy group"; (b) an announcement by the Department of Industry and Trade of Tehran stating that the Islamic Committee for the supervision of the distribution of goods confirms that it has cancelled the ration cards of two individuals because they are Baha’is; (c) a note from Mr. Aarya-Kinar, Director of the Department of Communications of the Babulsar District, dated 7 November 1987 and addressed to the Department of Communications of Nazindaran Province, which states that the refusal to connect a telephone is because the individual making the request belongs to the Baha’i community; (d) notes from Departments of the Ministry of Justice attesting that, first, an individual, who preferred that he remain anonymous in the report, had been granted a retirement pension and thanking him for his services, and second, stating that the individual had been deprived of his pension, in conformity with the decision of the Telecommunications Committee, because “his adherence to the Baha’i faith has been established"; and (e) order No. 3261 of the governor of Rejaj province, dated 2 May 1987, ordering the closing of the strop owned by an individual of the Baha’i faith who requested anonymity, and warning him that any action taken against the order would subject him to criminal liability.
- The Special Representative received a translation of an open letter signed by students of the Montazevi lycée addressed to their schoolmates of the Baha’i faith, warning then, with threats, not to attend class. The text of the letter is reproduced in annex IV.
89. The following information appeared in the Iranian press: a summons dated 15 November 1988 addressed to Mrs. Samadiyyih Musazadih Kuhnan, issued by the Administrative Errors Investigatory Board summoning her to defend herself against the charge that she had "relations with the misguided Baha’i sect.”; and a report published the same day stating that Mr. Imamquli Shadinan had been dismissed from his job because he was a Baha’i.
IV. COMMENTS AND VIEWS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLAMIC
REPUBLIC OF IRAN
- During the discussion in the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian representative submitted, on 6 March 1989. comments and views which should be retained because of their implications for the implementation of the mandate and, in particular, for the full co-operation that has year after year been requested of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.
- The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran said on that occasion that so far 2,000 persons had been granted amnesty and that the exact and definitive figures for the number of persons amnestied on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Revolution would be communicated to the Special Representative and the Commission on Hunan Rights. When he concluded the present interim report, the Special Representative had not received the definitive figures for the number of persons amnestied, which might be due to the fact that, according to information received, the judicial records of some 900 persons still in prison are being carefully studied.
- With regard to the study of human rights and their consequent evaluation. The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran asked that the competent organs of the United Nations should take into account the situation in the country and, in particular, two factors of the utmost importance: the international war of eight years’ duration and the revolutionary process under harassment and threats from terrorist and subversive groups. The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran repeated the complaint that selectivity, inspired by political interests, was applied in the determination of the countries subjected to the scrutiny of the Commission on Human Rights or to confidential procedure 1503 and called for equal treatment for all countries that night find themselves in similar situations with regard to human rights.
93. The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran said that it was absolutely necessary to establish the responsibility of groups and organizations which, acting on their own account and separately from the Government, or even against the Government, carried out activities and committed offences that comprised violations of human rights and to hold them accountable for their acts. In his view, that very important matter had not received appropriate consideration from the United Nations. Once again, the Iranian comments rejected the impartiality and veracity of one of the organizations submitting information on supposed violations of human rights. He argued that, in general, denunciations concerning violations of human rights were no more than mere allegations without proofs of any kind.
- The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran reiterated criticisms voiced earlier of the text of the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights containing the mandate of the Special Representative and the text of the draft resolution extending that mandate, which was then to be put to the vote. He said that those resolutions contained subjective criteria and lacked objectivity and good will. He said, in particular, that, as on previous occasions, such resolutions attempted to confer on groups a status that they did not really have. That indirect language referred to the attribution of the status of religious minority to the Baha’is. Those problems had prevented the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from co-operating fully with the Special Representative, although that co-operation, while partial, had been on the increase.
95. The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran recalled several times in his statement the efforts made during the forty-third session of the General Assembly to arrive at a consensus resolution that would facilitate the discharge of the mandate relating to human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He then said that those efforts had been very close to fruition but had broken down when the elements of consensus had been at hand; he added that the differences could only be overcome through dialogue, understanding and mutual co-operation. The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran concluded that part of his statement with the following words: “We remain ready and willing to co-operate and to upgrade it in light of the consideration which I enumerated”
- The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran also expressed the readiness of his Government to proceed by way of dialogue, in the event that that was acceptable to the countries sponsoring draft resolutions, and reiterated that the Special Representative could pray a role - which he qualified as mediation - in obtaining an agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the sponsors, He said also that, in his view, the Special Representative had a good theoretical and conceptual understanding of the problems underlying the differences that persisted be between both parties.
V. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
97. During the period in question, the Special Representative continued to receive written and oral allegations of human rights violations in Iran. Those allegations came from Iranians who had recently fled their country, Iranian organizations based abroad, including a militant one that utilizes armed force, press and radio reports, generally Iranian or taken from Iranian publicity media, and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. During the period under consideration, the Special
Representative received testimony denying some of those allegations, such as the high number of executions and political arrests and ill-treatment and torture of prisoners. Attention should be drawn to the diversity of the sources and the particular attention accorded by the Special Representative to independent sources and to reports from Iranian communication media.
- The Special Representative has informed the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran of the testimony received. The allegations communicated relate to the right to life, the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to freedom of conscience and religion and the right to guarantees of an objective and fair trial.
- During the forty-fifth session of the Commission on Human Rights, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran said that he had considerably advanced the preparation of replies to the lists of persons condemned to death accompanying the 1989 final report of the Special Representative, whose contents had been communicated to him before its publication, and he added that 140 cases had been investigated and no trace of the said persons had been found in the registers of prisons, hospitals, courts and cemeteries, owing to which he considered that those persons had died during the invasion of Iranian territory in
July 1988. The letter of 26 June 1989 from the Deputy Minister for International Affairs also contains this information.
100. It will be necessary to wait for the circumstantiated replies of the Iranian Government in order to evaluate the contradictory information and proceed to investigation by the means available. Also outstanding are the replies, many times promised, to allegations of violations of human rights and to the lists of persons executed accompanying previous reports.
- The information received by the Special Representative, both from witnesses and from non-governmental organizations and other independent sources agreed in affirming that iii-treatment and torture, both physical and psychological, were continuing in Iranian prisons. According to the reports, it would seem that, during the months of the current year, psychological torture has been prevailing over physical torture, with the aim of avoiding visible marks.
- On the other hand, some of the witnesses heard, when relating their experience in Iranian prisons, had stated that they had not been subjected to ill-treatment or torture. In conformity with that testimony, some prisoners are apparently not so badly off in some prisons, but, of course, this testimony does not invalidate that of less fortunate persons, perhaps much more numerous, who were very badly treated in those prisons. On the basis of the accounts and replies to questioning the Special Representative is convinced that, in Iranian prisons, the treatment of prisoners continues to be completely careless and is therefore left to the initiatives of the guards and that the investigators use methods at variance with humanitarian principles in order to extract confessions or information from prisoners.
- Reports continued to be received about the lack of procedural guarantees laid down in the International covenant on civil and political Rights, such as the lack of impartial proof of the legality of detention, statement of the charges immediately following arrest, the services of, a defence lawyer, the hearing of defence witnesses, the lack of publicity of the trial, effective appeal and other irregularities. Some of the testimony related to the accused appearing in court blindfolded, and all the testimony agreed that the verdict was pronounced in a question of minutes. It was also reiterated that persons who had completed prison terms continued to be detained for extensive periods on the whim of prison officials.
- Reports were still being received about very distressing conditions for prisoners, for example, overcrowding in small spaces, scarcity of food, highly deficient and scant sanitary facilities and a lack of medicaments and adequate and timely medical treatment.
- It should be noted that so far there is no information concerning any measure taken by the Iranian authorities to introduce effective procedural guaranties, eradicate ill-treatment and torture, improve living conditions in the prisons or assign responsibility to those accused of committing abuses. Consequently, in these matters, the situation continues to be the same as last year.
106. With regard to allegations of violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to freedom of expression, the Special Representative received information on the situation of adherents of the Baha’i faith. According to that information, the Baha’is are still being harassed for their faith. Nevertheless, according to oral and written proofs receiving in recent months, that harassment has decreased, and there have been some instances of rectification. Fourteen are still in prison, and four were executed. Some hundreds who had been kept in prison for some years have been released. In general, the Baha’is are now admitted to primary and secondary schools, but access to the universities continue to be blocked. Some of their businesses have actually been reopened, with the consent or the tolerance of the authorities, but others remained closed. Recently they have been permitted to use their cemeteries, which had been forbidden to them for years’ on the other hand, the right to travel freely is still denied them. On the whole, an improvement in the situation is noted, and it is to be hoped that the Iranian Government will continue on that course to the point of making separation for all damages and will make harassment a chapter in history.
- It should be noted that, according to official information, 2.500 political prisoners were released on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Revolution and that 900 remained in prison. The special Representative announced that amnesty in his final report to the Commission on Human Rights. On that occasion, some delegates told him privately that they had doubts about that amnesty and feared that it might be a question of propaganda, Recently the Special Representative has received assessments from armed opposition groups disputing the existence of the amnesty and stating that, according to the investigations conducted by the groups, none of the supposed amnestied persons have returned to their homes and that they should therefore be numbered among the disappeared persons.
108. While awaiting fresh information, in particular the conclusion that may be reached by the working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, concerning these latest presumed disappearances, the Special Representative presents his personal consideration regarding the case on the basis of the information available to him. Lacking, of course, direct proofs, he nevertheless maintains his conviction that an amnesty was decreed on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Revolution. In that regard, he points out that the information media, generally very zealous, have not categorically denied it but have even implicitly confirmed it in their commentaries and that the same attitude has been adopted by non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights; furthermore, some of the witnesses who were heard were released during the period during which the amnesty was operative, which suggests that they night be counted among the beneficiaries of that measure of clemency.
- Assuming the reality and effectiveness of the February 1989 amnesty, it might be characterized as a step in the right direction towards the disappearance of political arrests. It is to be hoped that ‘measures of clemency such as this may be multiplied on future occasions and complemented by the upgrading of the criminal laws and the moderate application of the death Penalty, although the ideal would, of course, be its total abolition in all countries of the world.
- The information emanating from various sources. including Iranian sources, and
to some degree corroborated by official statements, confirmed that Politically motivated mass executions took place in the second quarter of 1988 and that among those executed were prisoners who were serving sentences, including some whose sentences were about to be concluded in a few days and others who had been recaptured. The international communication media and organizations that monitor human rights agreed that those executions were the culmination of very summary judicial proceedings, where there had been any, and that they lacked the procedural guarantees instituted in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- During the past months of 1989, politically motivated executions were also reported. New information has supplemented the lists of executed persons of the previous years. On the other hand, the Iranian written Press and the official news agency, IRNA, have announced the dramatic increase in the number of executions for ordinary offences and, in particular, for the offence of drug trafficking. In addition, allegations have been received according to which many or some of those executions were political executions disguised with the aim of avoiding the negative reaction of international opinion. Those allegations, which are extremely sensitive, merit balanced and prudent examination, and, consequently, the Special Representative proposes to continue this investigation through the means available to him.
- With regard to the mandatory death sentence for drug traffickers, some comments are called for. Drug traffickers do not enjoy the slightest sympathy in any country of the world, because they embody and promote one of the worst scourges of the human race in these closing years of twentieth century. Their actions are condemnable from every point of view, but this does not mean that they should not enjoy guarantees of a fair criminal trial and be recognized as entitled to inherent rights, just like other human beings.
- According to reports disseminated by the international Press, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, through a law promulgated on 21 January 1989, made possession of specific quantities of drugs - more than 5 kilograms of hashish or opium or more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine, methadone or morphine - an offence punishable by death, without any alternative penalty or consideration of exonerating, extenuating or aggravating circumstances. Possession of quantities less than those stated is not punishable. Consumers must give up the habit in six months; otherwise, they will be taken to re-education camps or health clinics. The setting of the mandatory death penalty for mere possession of specific quantities of drugs may give rise to confusion between consumer and trafficker, the one requiring assistance and the other deserving some kind of punishment, although not necessarily death. Possession of a gram of a hard drug may make the difference between being sent to a health clinic or to the gallows: 30 grams night indicate a consumer, while 31 grams could mean the gallows for the possessor, on the legal presumption, without admitting any proof to the contrary, that he is a drug trafficker.
- Possession of drugs, even in smaller quantities than those indicated, might be a sign or complementary proof of drug trafficking, but this isolated fact does not necessarily prove that that is so. Possession of drugs should be combined with other evidence to constitute a proof of the existence of the offence of drug trafficking. In this case, the sole fact of possessing a specific quantity of drugs is sufficient for proof of the offence. It should be pointed out that, in the past, extreme severity in the treatment of common criminals has never led to the eradication of the offence, because that severity attacked the effects of the problem but left its underlying causes intact.
115. According to reports, drug traffickers are tried by emergency courts, constituted by a judge, a prosecutor and an intelligence officer, and in this court the intelligence officer prevails, when the judge should prevail. However odious the offence and however necessary it may be for a country to declare an open war on drugs, there is no exemption from observance of procedural guarantees. The speed of the proceedings, arranged for by means of two circulars distributed to all the courts and other authorities, ensures that the cases can be closed in three, four or five days and that a maximum interval of 10 days elapses between commission of the offence and the punishment. Official statements from high judicial authorities have announced that offences are being punished within the above -mentioned limits, and the time-limits are so short that they do not allow for the defence to be prepared or for applications for review or appeal or application for pardon to be made. The risks involved in extremely summary proceedings and the absence of guarantees of a fair trial are illustrated by the case of possible judicial error which has been mentioned. AII this points towards the recommendation that trial of the offence of drug trafficking be taken from the emergency courts and handed over to regular courts and that professional judges should be entrusted with full responsibility for the application of procedural guarantees ensuring a fair trial.
- During the period under consideration, the theme of terrorism has been raised. Five of the witnesses examined among them two veteran militants of the People’s Mojahedin organization, accused that organization of terrorism. Three witnesses affirmed that the above-mentioned grouping had claimed responsibility, in its own publications and on its radio, for the death of members of their families.
- The same accusation has been made by representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in international forums, most recently in the statement of the Iranian representative on 6 March 1989 before the Commission on Human Rights. Just as the deposition of witnesses is not to be discounted because of the political position of the organization promoting their appearance, nor can the testimony of those who have appeared through the offices of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran be rejected, because it is not a question of statements by one or other of the interested parties but of individuals relating their personal experience.
- Terroriser committed by one of the parties to a civil or international dispute never legitimates the terrorism with which the other party may respond. Fighting terrorism with terror has been the erroneous excuse that has caused indescribable suffering to persons who have nothing to do with the events. In the long term, the results have almost always turned against the promoters, because they are profoundly injuring the feeling of natural piety and natural benevolence towards other human beings and the ethical and religious ideas that constitute the deep-lying root of various cultures.
- The Special Representative has stated in previous reports that terrorism is to be condemned, in all its forms and independently of its origin and motivations, weather State terrorism or insurrectionist terrorism, because it is in itself a brutal assault on the fundamental rights of persons. Anti-governmental groups that use terrorism in order to obtain their political ends incur criminal responsibility and violate well established and widely recognized norms relating to the protection of human life and the integrity of persons. Terrorism is inconsistent with the prevailing international order. Life and liberty are ethical and juridical assets that are above considerations of party and factional interests, as well as interstate rivalry and political power struggles. Human rights philosophy does not ignore questions of internal and external security, because it is based, inter alia, on the security associated with the state of law, conceived, constructed and ensured through compliance with human rights norms.
120. Human rights, because of their inherent character and fundamental status have been recognized as the key element of the modern State and of government by content, which, in turn, is the sole title to legitimacy of, the command-obedience binomium. Human rights therefore remain integral in extreme emergencies, even if those that endanger the existence of the nation itself, and admit only of the restrictions expressly laid down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Nor can the condemnable practices of terrorism be legitimately countered with violations of human rights, on the pretext of State security or stability of the Government. Moreover, it is precisely in emergency situations, even acute emergencies, that adherence to human rights and their careful and constant application is most necessary. In those situations, human rights reveal their grandeur, their unique role in contemporary societies and their superiority over politicist theories. Of course, the easy life consisting of abandonment or neglect, laissez-faire and laissez-aller in human rights matters appears the expeditions and immediately effective way to establish security of State and Government, but the difficult way is much more constructive and, in the medium and the long term bears better fruit, including well consolidated stability and security.
- According to all the information, including official information, the executions of drug traffickers have been carried out through the hanging in public places, in various cities on the same day and in groups, of tens or scores of men and women. This mass implementation of the death penalty, in public and in various cities at the same time, has negative repercussions on the feeling of personal security of individuals and might drastically inhibit their expressions of the exercise of such important rights as freedom of expression, freedom of association and political rights in general. The Iranian Government might consider these possible effects with a view to rectifying, to the extent that might appear prudent, the modalities currently accompanying the execution of drug traffickers and other common criminals.
- Although the state of full co-operation has not yet been attained during the period under consideration, in spite of the reiterated calls of the United Nations General Assembly and the commission on Human Rights, the Government of Iran has continued to indicate that it is prepared gradually to increase its co-operation with the Representative. Full co-operation, which would include in situ investigation of the human rights situation, has continued to be one of the short-term goals, but official objections to the language used in the resolutions annually extending the mandate of the Special Representative have been maintained.
- During the forty-third session of the general Assembly, negotiations were conducted with a view to obtaining a consensus resolution and, at the same time, guaranteeing full Iranian co-operation, including an invitation to the Special Representative to visit the country and conduct investigations on the spot. After extensive negotiations and advances in rapprochement between the positions of the Iranian Government and the sponsors of the corresponding draft resolution, it was finally not possible to reach consensus. During the forty-fifth session of the Commission on Human Rights, that effort was not repeated.
124. The Special Representative wishes to place on record the fact that he has maintained personal and written contact with Iranian representatives and that he has encountered a readiness to clarify outstanding issues, discuss opposing points of view and examine the most thorny questions in friendly terms. The personal relations may be described as good, without prejudice to keen discussions and rough moments, which are inevitable in such a sensitive dialogue, which needs to be conducted in all frankness and with all the cards of the table.
- Accordingly, it would be appropriate to make fresh appeals to the Iranian Government to extend full co-operation to the special Representative, including a visit to the country. The countries directly involved in this might also decide whether to repeat efforts to obtain some kind of settlement that, while not diminishing the protection of human rights and compliance with international pacts and declarations, might offer a mutually acceptable base for proceeding to another stage in the development of the mandate.
- The information received, both from official sources and from opposition sources and independent sources do not contain elements that would, for the moment, allow modification of the conclusions at which the special Representative has arrived in his earlier reports, particularly in his 1988 interim report to the General Assembly and his final report for the current year to the commission on Human Rights. The special Representative maintains his conviction that acts are being committed in Iran that are incompatible with international human rights instruments that are binding on the Iranian Government.
127. Consequently, the Special Representative considers that the recommendations
remain current and pertinent which he submitted to the commission on Human Rights, in particular those relating to requesting the Government of Iran to consider, as a matter of urgency, extending its full co-operation and to adopt effective measures on the following matters: (a) full co-operation with the special Representative, including a visit to the country to investigate in situ the allegations submitted; (b) scrupulous investigation of all the allegations on possible human rights violations that have been brought to its knowledge since the Commission on Human Rights established the mandate of the Special Representative in 1984, and a circumstantiated reply on the result of those investigations to the Special Representative, so that he can take it into account in the preparation of his final reports; (c) legislative and administrative steps to ensure fair trials; (d) substantial reduction of the number of executions, thus complying with the text and the intention of the international Covenant on Civil and political Rights, while avoiding, at the same time, carrying out those executions in such a way that might be regarded as intimidating; (e) total elimination of ill-treatment and physical and psychological torture during interrogations, pre-trial detention and punitive detention; (f) crediting prisoners with the time spent in pre-trial detention so as to reduce the term of punitive detention; (g) a substantial improvement in the prison regime by the provision of minimal hygiene conditions and adequate food, medicaments and medical care for prisoners, and permitting them family visits. On the other hand, close attention should be given to considering and investigating the allegations that political prisoners have been executed on charges of drug trafficking.
- As a primary action decisive for the whole process of full enjoyment of human rights, it seems appropriate to have a political pronouncement adopted at the highest level, proclaiming a global policy of compliance with international human rights instruments, followed by new penal norms, principally norms that empower judges to adapt penalties to the particular circumstances of each case, and accompanied by concrete measures relating to investigation, supervision and responsibility at the administrative level.
- In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the basic framework with regard to human rights has not changed. The Special Representative maintains his conviction that the persistence of acts inconsistent with the international instruments in force justifies both international concern and study and constant vigilance by the United Nations general Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.
Names and particulars of persons allegedly executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the second half of 1988 and the beginning of 1989, supplementary to the list contained ill document E/CN.4/l989./26; list provided by non-governmental sources