[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
In the Name of God
Honorable head of the Justice Administration of Semnan
I, Anisa Fanaian, daughter of Nezamoddin, born in [redacted], birth certificate number [redacted], issued in Tehran, am an Iranian Baha’i residing in Semnan with two small children.
I would like to submit my grievance to you, as an authority in charge, and inform you of the violation of my rights and request that you restore my rights:
On 25 Azar 1387 [15 December 2008], the [Ministry of] Intelligence agents came with a search warrant against my husband Siamak Ighani and searched our home. The search warrant was illegal, as it was handwritten on a paper that was not the judiciary’s letterhead. Despite our requests, the officers did not provide us with a receipt for those belongings of ours that they took with them. Many of my personal items, and those of my small children, were confiscated in this search and were never returned to us.
- Our house was once again searched on 21 Esfand 1389 [12 March 2011]; this time I was the subject of the search. Again the search warrant was handwritten and not on the judiciary’s letterhead. Unfortunately, many of my personal and private items, such as films and photos of my children, have not been returned.
- In 1387 , I twice received phone threats from someone who introduced himself as a [Ministry of] Intelligence agent. Given that I was pregnant at that time, these threats had a traumatizing impact on me and my child.
- On three days during Farvardin 1390 [March/April 2011], and 12 days in Aban [October/November] of the same year, by phone and without a legal notice to appear—[as required] according to Articles 112 and 113 of the Criminal Hearing Procedures Act—I was summoned to the Information Office [headquarters] of the [Ministry of] Intelligence Office in Semnan, where I was subject to interrogations.
- I was summoned for interrogations while my mother and my husband were in prison, and my two children were left without a caregiver. The interrogations were unlawful and I was subjected to severe emotional and psychological pressures. They extracted a ‘confession’ from me so as to create a legal dossier on me. The file was then sent to court, regardless of my explanations to the interrogating officer.
Some of the illegal conduct during the course of the interrogations included:
- Refusal to formally explain and communicate the charges by the judicial authorities, despite my repeated requests during the interrogations. According to Article 32 of the Constitution and Articles 24 and 129 of the Criminal Hearing Procedures Act, subsequent to summoning a defendant, two things must take place: 1) the charge(s) must be explained; and 2) the reasons for the charges must be communicated. Unfortunately, [in this case], neither were the charges explained, nor were any reasons given. In other words, a dossier was made after a call for investigation.
- Repeated insults and slurs, the mention of which is unbefitting the dignity of this letter. There were screams and yells, coupled with various types of psychological and emotional harassments by the [Ministry of] the Intelligence Officers. Such conduct is in violation of Article 38 of the Constitution, which states, “All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violation of this article is liable to punishment in accordance with the law.”
- My days of interrogation continued into the late hours of the night, which, despite my repeated objections to the illegality of this conduct, produced no result other than further threats, insults and terror.
- In spite of my repeated requests for the presence of a female agent when I required one, my request was denied. Meanwhile, the terrifying conduct and behavior of the male interrogators, using harsh language, created a fearful and unsafe environment for me in the interrogation room.
- All the while, I noted down on the papers given to me the unlawful conduct during the interrogation; but unfortunately, each time they were ripped up by the interrogator and I was subjected to more insults and condescending remarks, while he dictated to me his desired responses.
- On many occasions, the interrogator directly dictated to me the responses [he wanted].
- On many occasions, the interrogation involved insulting my beliefs and asking me about my personal beliefs and ideologies.
- Despite my discussions with the deputy prosecutor and the investigator of the case, informing them of the method of interrogation, there were no modifications in the illegal pattern of their interrogation.
- Given that the charges had not been formally communicated to me, when I asked my investigator about my charges, he stated, “All Baha’is have one charge against them; yours is no different. The only common concern about the Baha’is is that they are Baha’is, inasmuch as the actions and behaviors of individuals are never the same. Therefore, this file is a case of ideology!” According to Article 23 of the Constitution “The investigation of an individual’s beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”
- During both interrogation and investigation I was under duress to provide answers. According to Article 129 of the Criminal Hearing Procedures Act such conduct is illegal.
Currently, because my husband is incarcerated only because of his beliefs, my children are under great pressure and stress, and suffer from financial hardship. My own interrogations and investigations, and ultimately the legal proceedings against me, have further increased the level of stress and uncertainly, resulting in added tension and putting my children in a dire [state of] vulnerability.
Your Honor, I am an Iranian citizen and I belong to this land; therefore, I have rights and responsibilities. I testify that I am a law-abiding citizen and have performed my social responsibilities to the best of my abilities. However, I also have rights which the authorities have a duty to safeguard. Is it necessary here to provide a detailed list of my violated rights as a Baha’i in Iran? No doubt you are well aware of those. As a housewife with two small children, how did I disturb national security? If anyone’s security has been compromised, it is indeed mine, as many of my human rights have been violated. The most essential need of a human being is his or her security. Has my security not been disturbed? Whom do I take my complaint to? Is the protection of people’s security not a primary responsibility of the government authorities? Is the judiciary not entrusted with implementation of justice and protection of the rights of the individual and society as per Article 156 of the Constitution? These rights have been violated in my case; and what I have endured is a clear violation of human rights and the rights of a citizen, as well as the breach of my legitimate freedom. Is it not a fact that the laws of Iran, including Articles 22, 32, 36, and 37 of the Constitution, stress the protection of dignity and the security of people? Is that not a right of people?
Your Honor, I have always been devoted to my country, and, guided by my beliefs, loyal to the ruling government, i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran. I am a law-abiding citizen and have never acted against the security of my country; nor have I ever engaged in propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I, therefore, request prompt action towards restoration of my violated rights and those of my small children.
- Prosecutor in Semnan
- Head of the Committee [of Supervision] for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights in Semnan
- Honorable Head of the Judiciary System
- Head of the Commission for Article 90 of the Majles
- Head of the [Iranian] Islamic Human Rights [Commission]
- National Investigation [Organization]
- Head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Tehran
- Head of the Bar Association of the Commission on Human Rights
- Office of the Protection of Citizen’s Rights in Tehran