[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Khodnevis
[Date:] 26 Azar 1392 [17 December 2013]
When the Place of the Criminal and the Victim Changes
[By:] Aria Haghgoo
Today, I was reviewing the laws and regulations related to green space in Iran. I did not intend to find articles about which to write a legal note. But what can we do, when in Iran, wherever you look, you see traces of human rights violations?
What surprised me this time was the exchange of places of the criminal and the victim with regard to the demolition of the Baha’i cemetery. Of course, this heinous and inhuman behaviour is one of the common practices in the Islamic Republic and destroying the graves of others and insulting the dead are among the favorite pastimes of some affiliates of this regime. In addition to the graves of the Baha’is, those of the poets, writers, actors and even the past kings and rulers of Iran have always been destroyed by these compatriots.
I do not intend at all to write in this memo about this dreadful practice in the Islamic Republic, nor about the violation of citizens’ rights. What has caught my attention is the indifference of the authorities of the Islamic Republic to cutting down trees, which is considered a crime under the Iranian law.
Pursuant to Article 4 of the Law for Amending the Bill on the Preservation and Expansion of Green Space in Cities, approved by the Revolutionary Council in 1359 , the compensation for damages—intentional or unintentional, as the case may be—will be the penalty of one million (1,000,000) rials to ten million (10,000,000) rials for cutting down each tree, and if the total number of trees that are cut down is more than thirty, the perpetrator will be sentenced to six months to three years in prison.
Therefore, the people who cut down the trees planted in the Baha’i cemeteries, according to the law of the Islamic Republic, are guilty of cutting down the trees, even if they were to receive praise from the regime for the demolition of Baha’i graves. Since the number of trees that they cut is more than 30, the judiciary of the Islamic Republic should have sentenced these people to a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years in prison, but this is also one of the legal humours of the Islamic Republic, that instead of punishing the one who has cut down the trees, they have sent the reporter of this criminal act to prison. In fact, instead of sentencing the cutters of these trees to six months to three years in prison, the judiciary of the Islamic Republic has sentenced Shamim Ettehadi, who had reported a crime against these people, to seven years in prison!
In the eyes of the judiciary and other officials of the Islamic Republic, the Baha’is or any other dissident may have no rights, and their lives, property, honour, graves and dead bodies may have no security, but what is the crime of the trees planted around the graves of these people?
Have these trees, which have been cultivated with great difficulty in a dry and water-scarce region like Yazd for many years, also disagreed with the Islamic Republic that they have been sentenced to extinction? Does the Islamic Republic not care about its own law regarding the green space in cities, either?
Why has the government punished the person who reported this crime instead of dealing with criminals who have cut down the trees?
Should the trees also burn in the fire of hatred of the rulers of Iran and their affiliates?
Without doubt, these questions should be added to the long list of questions that the Islamic Republic will never answer. The important issue is to increase the Iranian people’s awareness of the depth of vindictiveness and hate-speech conducted by this regime amongst the Iranians, which will definitely affect all Iranians.