Saturday, January 9, 2010

I.R. Iran's Judiciary Takes a Military Colour

Tweet It! / Massoumeh Torfeh

A new phase of political killings is set to begin in Iran with the trial of five demonstrators charged with being mohareb – a description for someone who fights against Islam. Tehran's "general and revolutionary" prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, told the Iranian news agency, IRNA, that those who "set fire to vehicles and committed other crimes" could be regarded as mohareb and will be dealt with in revolutionary courts. He said the cases against them had been "prepared by security forces, after taking their confessions". The usual punishment for being a mohareb in the Islamic Republic is execution. In other words five people face execution for taking part in a demonstration. Rightwing MPs who dominate the Iranian parliament have also been busy rushing through a new legislation calling for a faster process for dealing with those cases. They want to reduce the period for seeking an appeal from 20 to five days. "There are too many cases, and these must go through the system as soon as possible," said judiciary officials. The call for using the "harshest punishment" for those who "insulted the supreme leader and the Islamic Republic" has continued for several weeks.

However, in the last week religious and political authorities have raised the bars by calling demonstrators mohareb. Two high-ranking officials, both with background in the Revolutionary Guards – the police chief, General Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam and the interior minister, General Mostafa Najjar – have called for the need to regard demonstrators as mohareb. In a meeting with the Revolutionary Guards in the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, known as the guru of the contested president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, added another dimension calling for the demonstrators to be regarded as mofsed fel arz – "the corrupt on earth". He accused the demonstrators of getting their instructions from the west and "corrupting Islam". "They prefer to be Obama's servants rather than servants of God," Yazdi said. "They deserve only the harshest punishment." Hundreds of clergy across Iran have now taken their cue from ayatollahs such as Mesbah Yazdi. It was originally the leader of the Iranian revolution of 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, who used the terms mofsed fel arz and mohareb to describe those layers that he regarded as opposition. Islamic Republic's penal code provides the following definition:

Anybody who takes up arms to create fear and to divest people of their freedom and security is mohareb and mofsed-e fel-arz. Anybody convicted of being mohareb or mofsed-e fel-arz or both may be sentenced to death at the behest of the ruling judge. (Read more...)