[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Attorney at Law
Association of Justice Administration Lawyers of Fars, Bushehrr, Kohgiloyeh and Boyer-Aḥmad
Date: 9 Mehr 1387 [30 September 2008]
Honourable Chief Justice of Branch 108 of the Penal Court in Shiraz
Respectfully, concerning case reference 108 16/87 before your honour, as counsel representing
Mr. Enayatollah Haghighat, notwithstanding his personal beliefs, and solely as an advocate for his right to a defence and fair process in the administration of justice, which is the basic right of every citizen, I submit to you the following:
- In order to pass a guilty finding on a charge, namely “insulting Islam,” there must be evidence of utterance and or actions that could be interpreted as an insult or a demonstration of lack of respect. Furthermore, insulting Islam would mean utterance with direct bearing on what is sacred, such as comments directed at the Person of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Holy Qur’an, and/or the blessed Imams, and ultimately showing disrespect to Almighty God. My client, the defendant, has committed no such act. He has not uttered any insult, and there is no evidence in the file to suggest otherwise. On the contrary, the defendant has repeatedly indicated that he believes in Islam and respects its laws and principles. Moreover, he has categorically denied having insulted Islam. During the process of his daughter’s expulsion from school, the defendant showed no disrespect to Islam, and there is no evidence in the preliminary reports to suggest otherwise. The defendant has, in fact, stated his reverence for the law and his non-interference in politics and matters of security. He has simply remained strong in his own beliefs. Even though his choice of beliefs and principles has not been legally recognized in the Constitution, adherence to beliefs which are not recognized by the public majority or that are not mentioned in the Constitution is not by itself a crime and does not constitute grounds for legal pursuit. Similarly, the mere fact of his adherence to a different religion is not an insult to that which is sacred to Islam. The defendant has never uttered any words or shown any action that is disrespectful to Islam, and there is no evidence in the file to suggest otherwise. Apparently, what has instigated this charge, which has subsequently brought the defendant before the court, is solely the defendant’s beliefs, and while his beliefs are not recognized by the public majority, they should not be considered an insult to Islam. As such, no guilt can be established in this case.
- The blessed religion of Islam always strives to attract people to the Islamic culture through demonstrating mercy and kindness. This is reflected in Article 14 of the Constitution and in this holy verse [Arabic quote]; and the mere fact of adhering to beliefs other than Islam, without words and actions of disrespect, is not a crime.
Moreover, possession of books and publications that might contain texts contrary to Islam is not illegal, and the person possessing them should not be held responsible for the views of the author; the law of individual punishment is indicative of this fact.
The defendant has repeatedly stated that he respects and believes in that which is sacred in Islam and has spoken of the importance of respecting these principles and categorically denied the charges against him. Also, most of the questions asked of the defendant during the interrogation have been imposed on him as suggestions, and the process has been unjustifiably that of “thought control.” In such a setting, whatever the defendant has said has been in response to the questions asked of him, without his having made any comments on these matters prior to his arrest or insulted Islam intentionally and deliberately.
Based on these reasons and in accordance with the pious Islamic culture and its principles of kindness and mercy towards those who live in an Islamic land and who are law-abiding citizens, and on the fact that having other beliefs is not a crime and should not be considered as an insult to Islam; and, furthermore, in light of the freedom of belief guaranteed by in Article 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and in accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Law, which prohibits the investigation of an individual’s beliefs; and in reference to Articles 14 and 37 of the Constitution; the defendant should be acquitted and items seized from his home returned to him, as reflected in Article 10 of the Islamic Penal Code.
Attorney for Mr. Haghighat
Attorney at Law and legal advisor
[Signature and stamp]