F. Freedom of religion and the situation of the
144. It has been reported that Baha'is in the Islamic Republic of Iran have, for 13 years, been systematically persecuted, harassed and discrimi-nated against for their religious beliefs. It was alleged that, since 1979, 201 Baha'is had been killed and 15 others had disappeared and were presumed dead. After a cessation of executions for a period of three and a half years, Mr. Bahman Samandari, a member of the Baha'i community in the Islamic Republic of Iran, was arrested on 17 March 1992 and executed in Evin prison in Tehran on 18 March 1992. The prosecutor in the case claimed that the main charge against him was spying. It was reported that a spokesman for the Tehran Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office admitted that Mr. Samandari had been executed because of his cooperation with foreign intelligence services. No evidence whatsoever has been given to support that charge.
145. In its reply, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated the following:
"The allegation of harassment is denied. All those who do not disturb public peace and order may conduct their ceremonies. Execution of individuals takes place based on final sentencing by judicial courts, which determine that the crime deserving such punishment has been committed. Nobody is pursued and persecuted because of their beliefs. Explanations about Bahman Samandari have previously been offered."
146. It was further reported that Baha'is continue to be arrested and imprisoned solely on the basis of their religious beliefs. Since 15 December 1992, a further 10 Baha'is have been imprisoned. Their names were given as follows:
Mr. Hushmand Yazdani, arrested in Abidah in December 1992;
Mr. Rafiee Yazdani, arrested in Abidah in December 1992;
Mr. Irfan Ismailpur of Chalus, imprisoned in Bihshahr, date unknown;
Mr. Husayn-Auli Rawshan-Damir, imprisoned on 27 June 1993;
Mr. Daryush Firuzmandi of Karj, imprisoned in Tehran on 8 July 1993;
Mr. Ali Latifi,arrested in Orumiyeh on 7 September 1993;
Mr. Ramidan Ali Dhulfaqari, arrested in Rafsanjan on 21 September 1993;
Mr. Husayn Hur, arrested on 30 October 1993, place unknown;
Mr. Hussayn Ghadanfari, arrested on 30 October 1993, place unknown;
Mr. Tahir Iskandari, arrested on 30 October 1993, place unknown.
147. In addition, it was reported that six Baha'is remained imprisoned. Their names were given as follows:
Mr. Bakshu'llah Mithaqi, arrested in Karaj on 17 October 1985;
Mr. Kayvan Khalajabadi, arrested in Gohardasht on 29 April 1989;
Mr. Bihnam Mithaqi, arrested in Gohardasht on 29 April 1989;
Mr. Husayn Ishraqi, arrested in Isfahan on 1 April 1992;
Mr. Nijatu'llah Bihin-Ain, arrested in Isfahan in July 1992;
Mr. Rabiullah Ismailzadigan, imprisoned in Tehran, date unknown.
148. It was reported that, on 1 April 1992, Mr. Husayn Ishraqi, an elderly Baha'i, was arrested at his home in Isfahan. He is reportedly still in prison. It was also reported that Mr. Nijatu'llah Bihin-Ain, who had been released from prison in January 1990, was again summoned in July 1992 by the authorities and condemned to five years' imprisonment. It was further reported that two Baha'i prisoners, Mr. Bakshu'llah Mithaqi and Mr. Kayvan Khalajabadi, who had been imprisoned without formal charges or trial since April 1989, underwent a second trial in which the death sentences were reaffirmed on 23 November 1993. The Special Representative was able to meet these persons in Evin prison in Tehran during his third visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was said that paragraph D of verdict No. 81 charged the two Baha'is with, among other things, transmitting information to the United Nations, presumably in reference to the interviews the Special Representative had with them during his last visit to Iran.
149. It was also reported that Mr. Raamadan-Ali Dhulfaqari, who is imprisoned in Rafsanjan, was condemned to death for apostasy.
150. It was alleged that Baha'i-owned cemeteries, holy places, historical sites, administrative centres and other assets, seized mostly in 1979, remained confiscated or had been destroyed. Having access only to those cemeteries which the Government has designated for them, Baha'is in many localities experience difficulties in burying their dead. Baha'is are not permitted to mark the graves of their fellow Baha'is, making it almost impossible to identify the graves of their loved ones. The Special Representative was informed that graves of Iranian Baha'is in the Baha'i cemetery of Tehran were being destroyed by order of the authorities and that the remains of human bodies were being loaded into trucks and removed to a destination unknown to the relatives. In this connection, the Special Representative addressed a letter to the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva (for the text of the communication, see para. 7). Subsequent to his letter, the Special Representative was informed that the contractor hired to excavate the site had reportedly been instructed to work in three shifts in order to speed up progress on the project of construction of a cultural centre. The cemetery had been confiscated at the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, at which time the mortuary and memorial hall were demolished, the marble grave coverings were removed and all grave site markings obliterated. The headstones were subsequently sold at public auction.
151. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that:
"According to letter No. 10/29455 dated 25 September 1993, the municipal authorities in Tehran declared 103 cemeteries located in the city hazardous to public health and the environment. Of these cemeteries, 100 belonged to Muslims, one to Armenians, one to Jews, and one to Baha'is. All of these cemeteries will be converted to public parks for use by all sectors of society. Tehran's municipal authorities have assigned suitable alternative lands for cemeteries where the dead may be buried. The Baha'is' cemetery is located at Khavaran Street in the centre of Tehran, adjacent to the Armenians' cemetery, and it has been an abandoned cemetery since 1978. Since that year, nobody has been buried there. This cemetery was levelled according to a municipal directive which ordered the conversion of a total of 103 cemeteries. In view of the fact that corpses disintegrate completely with the passing of decades and cannot be transferred to other grounds, this allegation is firmly denied. The adjacent Armenians' cemetery was also abandoned and converted to a park. To preserve citizens' health and the environment, the municipal authorities provided alternative lots to be used for cemeteries."
152. It was recently alleged that approximately 15,000 graves of the Baha'i cemetery in Tehran have been desecrated as a result of this one municipal excavation project.
153. It was also alleged that Baha'i property rights were generally disregarded. It was said that recently the properties of Baha'is of Sayran and Ilkhchi had been confiscated because of their membership in the Baha'i community. Between August and September 1992, Iranian Islamic revolution-ary institutions issued, almost simultaneously, notices of the confiscation of a considerable number of properties belonging to individual Baha'is in Yazd, Tehran and Isfahan. It was reported that in Isfahan the home of a Baha'i of over 80 years of age was invaded in mid-September 1992 by several government officers who took away all his belongings. Around the same time, officers of the Attorney-General of Isfahan entered eight other Baha'i homes, taking away books, household items, radio and television sets, recorders, cameras and cash. The Baha'i owners have lodged com-plaints with the judicial authorities, but without any results so far.
154. In its reply, the Government stated that:
"Depriving people of the rights of ownership of property contravenes the Constitution and all relevant laws. However, in some cases, property is confiscated by judicial authorities as a means of repaying debts to banks or to other individuals. This method is a universal method of debt repayment. The full investigation of this allegation will require more detailed specifics about the individuals in question, the court that confiscated property, and the dates and locations of the incidents.
"The part of the allegation related to the Province of Yazd is denied. The Baha'is in that province engage in daily economic and commercial activities without any interference. To investigate the other parts of the allegation, more information and detail are required. The absence of any specific information on the identity of the individual makes the pursuit of this matter for further verification difficult. Specific information on this individual should be presented to allow us to address the matter."
155. It was further alleged that members of the Imam Khomeini Founda-tion sporadically seize the homes of Baha'is and harass the occupants. It was added that the confiscation of property is one of the ways the Iranian Government is systematically eroding the economic base of the Baha'i community.
156. It was further alleged that many Baha'is in the Islamic Republic of Iran continued to be deprived of the means of earning a living. More than 10,000 Baha'is had been dismissed from positions in government and educa-tion in the early 1980s because of their religious beliefs. A considerable number of them remained unemployed and received no unemployment benefits. The retirement pensions of Baha'is dismissed on religious grounds had been terminated. Some Baha'is dismissed from government posts had even been required to return salaries or pensions paid to them. It was also said that Baha'is were not officially allowed to open their own businesses. There had been incidents of harassment in the cities of Karaj and Aran in Kashan where Baha'is had been ordered to close their stores. Baha'i farmers were denied admittance to farmers' cooperatives, which were often the only source of credit, seeds, pesticide and fertilizer.
157. With regard to the preceding paragraph, the Government replied, on 27 October 1993, the following:
"The allegation that 10,000 Baha'is were dismissed from government positions is baseless. The right to fire individuals according to guidelines provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has been bestowed upon supervisors. Workers of all ethnic groups or religions may be fired within the framework of these guidelines. The Government plays no role in such cases of termination of employment, and individuals have the right to file a complaint with the Commission on Conflict Resolution or ultimately with the Tribunal of Administrative Justice. The allegation that salaries and benefits were not paid is also denied. The Organization of Employment Affairs of Iran has announced that the salaries and benefits of all Baha'i retirees are paid without any restrictions. If the salary of any citizen has not been paid because he is Baha'i, the case will be investigated if specific information on the person is received."
158. It was further reported that an entire generation of Baha'is had been denied higher education. For over 13 years Baha'i youths had been systematically barred from institutions of higher education. It was also alleged that Baha'is experienced difficulties in circulating Baha'i books among themselves.
159. With regard to their civil rights, it was alleged that Baha'is in the Islamic Republic of Iran continued to be deprived of protection under the law because of their religious beliefs. It was said that neither Baha'i marriages nor divorces were legally recognized in the Islamic Republic, and that the right of Baha'is to inherit was disregarded. Baha'is were not free to travel outside the country. With the exception of a few cases, it was almost impossible for them to obtain passports and exit visas. It was also alleged that for the past 10 years the Baha'i community had been denied the right of assembly and the right to elect and maintain its administrative institutions. Those institutions constitute the core around which Baha'i community life revolves. Given that the Baha'i faith has no clergy, being deprived of its institutions threatens the very existence of the Baha'i community as a viable religious community.
160. With regard to the preceding paragraphs, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that "paragraphs related to Baha'is are repetitive. These have been answered previously".
161. Subsequent to his interim report to the General Assembly, the Special Representative received the following allegations concerning the freedom of religion and the situation of the Baha'i community.
162. It was alleged that verdict No. 508-30/6/72, issued by Branch No. 4 of Penal Court 1 of Shahr-i Ray on 21 September 1993, acquitted Messrs. Sulayman and Rahman Iynullahi, sons of Hasan, who had jointly participated in the abduction and subsequent deliberate murder of an Iranian Baha'i, of the death sentence and of the liability of paying blood money because "the victim was, according to the testimony of all the next of kin, the plaintiffs, and the residents of the area where he lived, a member of the misled and misleading sect of Baha'ism". The verdict was based on the second provision, on page 519, of volume II, of "Tahriru'l-Vasilih" of the late Imam, and other books of jurisprudence such as the "Javahiru'l-Kalim", where it is stated that "One of the prerequisites for Quesas (retaliatory punishment) is when both parties are of the same religion, thus when an infidel is killed by a Muslim, the punishment is not applicable". The Penal Court considered, however, that the action committed by the murders was "illegal, upsets public order and security, and disturbs the well-being of the sacred order of the Islamic Republic". Accordingly, each of the above-mentioned two accused was sentenced to 18 months of corrective imprisonment, inclusive of the period of their detention prior to the issuance of the verdict.
163. It was reported that on 1 February 1993, the National Educational Evaluation Council of the Ministry of Culture and Education issued a circular letter to the applicants to the annual national examination for the academic year 1372/73 (1993/94), informing them that if the applicants did not specify their religion on the registration document (only Islam, Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian) their applications to university would be cancelled.
164. It was reported that on 30 November 1992, the Martyrs' Foundation of the Islamic Revolution refused to grant compensation to an Iranian citizen because "he, his mother and the rest of his family members are associated with the misled sect of Baha'ism".
165. On 2 February 1992, the Director-General of the Retirement Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran rejected the payment of retirement benefits to an Iranian citizen "because he is a member of the misled sect of Baha'ism". The decision was based "in the decree left by the Imam Khomeini, which is as a law and which must be enforced".
166. It was reported that verdict No. 21025 issued by the Third Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced an Iranian woman to the "confiscation of all her belongings, known and unknown, including all the properties she has transferred to others", on charges of "being a member of the most misguided Baha'i sect, for activities in support of illegal organizations and for leaving the fold of the Islamic Republic". All her belongings were put "in the hands of the chosen trustees of the Vali-i Faqih".
167. It was alleged that the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Islamic Republic reported, in September 1992, that the head of the First Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court had approved a verdict of confiscation of the belongings of an Iranian Baha'i, as well as of her brother and father, "on the basis of the authority vested by the Supreme Guide in the Heads of Islamic Revolutionary Courts, and that it is therefore final and applicable".
168. It was further reported that a verdict issued in January 1992 by Branch No. 143 of the Penal Court of Tehran No. 1, presided over by Hojatoleslam Muhammadi, dismissed the case of paying indemnity for an Iranian Baha'i killed and another injured in an automobile accident, on the grounds of their being Baha'is, and stated that the prosecution against the accused should be stopped. The verdict was issued "according to Islamic law, based on the decree of the late Imam recorded on page 559, section 31, of his book "Tahriru'l-Wasilih", in which he states that, except for the "Ahl-i-Dhimma", followers of other religions, whether or not they have accepted the Covenant or have received the Message of Truth, will receive no indemnity."
169. On 7 May 1993, the commander of the Troop of Border Guards, First Division, General Siyyid Ali Musavizadigan, requested that Baha'i soldiers be referred to another organization on the grounds of their "religious uncleanness" and considering the sensitivity of the work involved.
170. It has been reported that a bishop of the Chaldean Christian Church has been expelled from Iran. It was further said that the Chaldean Bible Society and some Chaldean churches and schools have been closed.
G. The situation of women
171. It was alleged that women needed their husbands' permission to work or travel abroad. It was also alleged that women were not permitted to study engineering, agriculture, mining or metallurgy or to become magistrates. It was further alleged that women were excluded from a very large number of specific subjects at the university level. It was alleged that a woman's share of an inheritance was only half that of a man.
172. With regard to the preceding paragraph, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran replied, on 27 October 1993, the following:
"First sentence: According to Islamic law, women must ask for their husbands' permission to travel. This is based on the assumption that by consenting to marry, the woman has agreed to this condition. On the other hand, if at the time of marriage, both parties agree to behave differently, the details should be specifically defined on the certificate of marriage.
"Second sentence: This allegation is unrealistic.
"Third sentence: This allegation is denied.
"Fourth sentence: This is one of the primary principles of Islam corroborated in the Koran. The Civil Law is based on this principle."
173. According to the newspaper Salam of 18 February 1993, many women in south-western Iran were beheaded by their male relatives in punishment for real or imagined sexual misconduct. In a report on a deadly honour code among Arab clans in Khuzestan province, Salam said the killers often went free because of legal loopholes and because they had full support from their clan, which took pride in the murder. It published a letter that quoted a court official as saying:
"The tribesmen would sometimes kill a woman for just a smile, for liking a boy from another clan, even for throwing a glance at someone or sticking her head out of the house. Sometimes clan councils decide in cold blood to have a woman beheaded and the most zealous may present volunteers to do it."
The letter said that the whole clan united to shield the killer from punishment, by threats or offers of money to courts, police or relatives of the victim. Every year a large number of women and girls were beheaded and in almost all cases the coroner found no evidence of sexual misconduct, according to the letter.
174. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government replied that:
"This allegation is denied. Punishment is meted out only by competent courts and when, on the basis of due process of law, charges have been proven. It must be added that within the framework of Iran's penal laws, such an act constitutes premeditated murder and is to be pursued by penal authorities. To date, a number of those who have murdered their daughters have been pursued and punished accordingly. The Islamic Republic of Iran will investigate any reported instances of such crimes."
175. According to the newspaper Ettela'at of 26 May 1993, Mrs. Shoja'i, counsellor on women's affairs to the Minister of the Interior, stated that while professional jobs for women had increased by 40 per cent, women's employment generally had been decreasing by 2 per cent annually.
176. On 27 October 1993, the Government stated that "the statement made by this person was not quoted in its entirety".
177. It was reported that, on 20 and 21 June 1993, security agents set up several checkpoints and covert and undercover patrols in different cities, particularly in Tehran, arresting and imprisoning hundreds of women on the charge of improper veiling and non-Islamic attire, during a campaign for the promotion of virtue and prohibition of vice.
178. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government stated that "this allegation is denied".
179. It was reported that, on 25 May 1993, Ms. Roya Ansari, aged 24, was hurt by acid being thrown in her face by agents of the Pasdaran, during a campaign against improper veiling in Isfahan. She has reportedly lost her eyesight.
180. On 27 October 1993, the Government stated the following:
"This allegation is denied. These actions are in violation of the country's laws, and those guilty of committing such actions will be investigated under the rules of law."
181. According to Salam of 4 March 1993, members of a patrol to combat vice and social corruption occupied a girls' school in Tehran and divested the girls of their jewels and adornments. According to the newspaper Jomhuri Eslami of 24 June 1993, a number of inadequately covered women rounded up in a clamp-down on vice and un-Islamic dress in Tehran were sentenced to flogging. General Abdullah Oqbasi, chief of police of Tehran, stated that 802 men and women had been arrested over the previous two days and taken to the Anti-Vice Bureau. It was said that 80 per cent of those detained were under 20, people who had studied in post-revolutionary schools and grown up in the Islamic system. Residents said some men and women were detained for wearing dark glasses.
182. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government stated the following:
"First two sentences: The accuracy of this allegation is denied. Such initiatives are in violation of the country's laws, and the judicial authorities deal decisively with anyone responsible for such violations.
"Third through final sentences: This issue has been distorted. The speaker made statements before and after these sentences that prove their meaning to be different from what has been alleged. Besides, those arrested simply received counselling at the Office for Combating Corruption, and then they were freed. Nowhere in the law is there a punishment decreed for the use of sunglasses."
183. According to Ettela'at of 18 May 1993, it was not possible for a young unmarried woman to go on the pilgrimage of Imam Reza to Mashhad on her own, because the hotels did not rent rooms to young women. Travel-pilgrimage tours did not allow participation of unmarried women under 50 years of age.
184. In its reply, the Government stated that "this allegation is denied".
185. It was reported that Ayatollah Khaz'ali, a member of the Council of Guardians, had stated:
"Iranian youth have not shed their blood and been martyred so that you, women, can flaunt your hair and corrupt our youth. The Basijis now have the role of the judicial police and can warn women and if they do not take heed can directly arrest them."
186. On 27 October 1993, the Government stated that:
"Firstly, this issue was distorted, and statements by the speaker before and after these sentences disprove the alleged meaning. Secondly, the Basijis do not have the right to arrest individuals, and the statements of an irresponsible party do not bestow such authority upon Basiji forces."
187. Subsequent to his interim report to the General Assembly, the Special Representative transmitted to the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva, by letter dated 17 December 1993, the following allegations concerning the situation of women.
188. According to the Iranian newspaper Ressalat of 2 November 1993, the police raided a private party in west Tehran arresting 26 girls that were not wearing veils.
189. According to the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri of 29 September 1993, the Islamic Consultative Asssembly (Majlis) defeated for the second time a motion for a parliamentary women's committee. Muslim cleric and parliamentary deputy Abbas Abbasi stated that "Women must accept that men rule over them and the world, too, should know that man is dominant. If a women's committee is to be set up we should also form a men's committee. If this motion is carried we will be hearing murmurs tomorrow about a minister for women's affairs", he said.
190. It was also reported that the Majlis rejected a bill which would allow unmarried female doctors aged 28 or less from leaving the country to further their studies.
191. On 16 December 1993, the Iranian newspaper Salam reported that Mr. Abbas Abbasi complained in the Majlis that an un-Islamic atmosphere in Iran is preventing men from taking several wives. "Who has said that the best man is one who lives with one woman all his life? Why have we created this atmosphere? God's Prophet had eight wives and kept them in the same house", he said.
H. The situation of children
192. According to Salam of 27 May 1993, every year 1 million children remain illiterate owing to insufficient educational and teaching facilities.
193. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that:
"The issues covered by the newspaper Salam have been distorted. This newspaper presented statistics on the numbers of the country's students and the rate of population growth to argue that if attention is not paid to this issue, in the coming decade 1 million children are likely to remain illiterate. The newspaper makes specific suggestions to deal with the situation."
194. The newspaper Jahan-e-Islam of 27 May 1993 reported that the principal of Doroshti elementary school in Karaj questioned an ill-disciplined student for unjustified absence and pulled off his fingernails as a physical punishment. Mr. Alizadeh, the student's father, stated:
"After the nails of my child were pulled off, several members of the neighbourhood's Islamic Council, of the Evaluation Unit of Educational District 2 of Karaj and of the school's faculty came to my house and asked me not to complain to the authorities."
195. On 27 October 1993, the Government informed that:
"In connection with this allegation, those responsible at the Ministry of Education investigated the case, fired the delinquent party from his post and referred the complaint by the parents of the student and all related documents to the courts for adjudication of the case."
I. Right to work
196. It was alleged that, on 30 January 1989, Mr. Ali Mohammadi Vavsari was arbitrarily deprived of his right to practise medicine by the General Department of Graduate Affairs of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, through its letter No. E/5/M/337. Mr. Vavsari lodged a petition with Branch 16 of the Administrative Court of Justice, on the basis of which the Court, in its verdict No. 303 of 9 September 1992 (file classification 1608/16/68), ordered the nullification of the letter of the Ministry, which it considered legally unfounded. The Ministry demanded a rehearing. The Administrative Court then annulled its previous verdict, allegedly without an accurate study of the case and observation of the legal procedure, and without allowing Mr. Vavsari effective defence. The rehearing took no more than a few minutes. In addition, it was alleged that the Ministry had ordered the destruction of Mr. Vavsari's university records.
197. On 27 October 1993, the Government reported that "this case is being investigated".
198. It has been reported that foreign physicians working in the Islamic Republic of Iran under the Ministry of Health and Medical Education had not been given back their insurance premiums and severance benefits at the time of their final departure from the country, in violation of article 5 of the Social Welfare Law and article 24 of the Labour Law.
199. In its reply, the Government stated that "this allegation is denied".
J. Right of everyone to own property
200. It has been reported that people's rights have been disregarded as a result of the wide powers given to the officials in charge of the Qeshm Island Administrative Authority of the Free Trade Zone. It was alleged that private residential homes had been destroyed or occupied without any regard or recourse to the law, that possession had been taken of private and commercial property without regard to legal documents on ownership and that taxes had been collected without legal authorization.
201. On 27 October 1993, the Government stated that "this allegation is denied".
202. It was reported that certain restrictions had been placed on foreigners in such areas as ownership rights and the right to form companies dealing with commerce, industry, agriculture or mining.
203. In its reply, the Government stated that: "Instituting laws and making decisions in this connection are the prerogatives of the legislative branch of the Government".
K. The events of 25 May 1993
204. It was reported that, on 25 May 1993, two F4 fighter bombers and 10 Sukhoi planes raided the Ashraf base of the so-called National Liberation Army of Iran, 90 kilometres inside Iraqi territory. Another base in the city of Jalula in eastern Iraq was simultaneously attacked by two fighter bombers of the Iranian air force.
205. It was also reported that on 29 June 1993 the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Mullah Hassan Rohani, declared in a statement:
"Henceforth we will launch preemptive attacks against the People's Mojahedin Organization's bases inside Iraq and we will not wait to act in self-defence."
206. With reference to the two preceding paragraphs, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran replied, on 27 October 1993:
"The activities of groups opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran originate in Iraqi territory and take place with the support of the Iraqi Government. These activities have led to the deaths of tens of people and injury to defenceless villagers at the borders. Based on the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of self-defence and the protection of citizens of border areas, the Islamic Republic of Iran deems it her legitimate right to take the necessary and appropriate steps to deal with terrorist acts in these areas."
L. The situation of the Kurdish and Naraoui people
207. It was reported that tensions between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sunni Muslims belonging to the Naraoui tribe in the Baluchistan-Sistan region of south-east Iran had resulted in a number of armed clashes and the arrest and detention of scores of Naraouis. Many of those arrested were reported to be still detained without charge or trial at Zahedan prison. Others were reportedly sentenced to death or prison terms after allegedly unfair trials.
208. In its reply, the Government stated the following:
"In Sistan and Baluchistan, there have been no altercations due to ethnicity or ideology between the Government and the Baluchis or other traditional groups. The Islamic Government regard the rights of Sunnis as highly as it does the rights of Shiites. The altercations in the area were between military forces and drug traffickers who intend to smuggle thousands of tons of narcotics through Iran into Europe each year. These circumstances are due to the fact that Iran is adjacent to the area of the Golden Belt, the major source of production and export of narcotics in the Middle East."
209. It was alleged that since the day of the Islamic Revolution, over 40,000 Iranian Kurdish civilians and approximately 5,000 cadres and militants of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan had lost their lives. It was said that hundreds of Kurdish villages had been totally destroyed or emptied of their inhabitants. It was reported that Iranian military forces had carried out indiscriminate shelling of villages along the border areas of Iraqi Kurdistan. On 13 March 1993, Iranian planes bombed the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan, near Sulaimaniya, killing four persons and injuring a large number. In April 1993, Iranian forces were reportedly deployed in Haj Omran and Penjwin, several kilometres inside Iraqi territory, causing 500 Kurds to flee. On 4 August 1993, Ranieh and Ghaleh Dizeh villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, 20 kilometres inside Iraq, were bombarded during a campaign against the Kurdish people on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border.
210. In its reply of 27 October 1993, the Government stated that:
"This allegation is denied. It is necessary to explain that the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran has so far murdered hundreds of citizens and destroyed residences in the north-western areas of the country through savage acts that have made these areas insecure. This Party's activities are illegal, and it is based in Iraq. Its collaboration with Iraqi intelligence agencies and its quest to establish an independent Kurdish regime through disorder, murder and plundering have left behind a dark and gruesome record over the last 13 years. An investigation of this Party's terrorist crimes found out that more than 16,550 Kurds of Iran have been killed by members of this Party, 1,290 tractors and other equipment owned by villagers were set ablaze, 5,620 residential units were destroyed and their residents became vagrants in the mountains. Also, to date, more than 250 renegade ex-members of this Party who sought asylum in Iran have been murdered by the Kurdish Democratic Party. In conclusion, the Islamic Republic of Iran declares that it will persist in its old policy of granting pardon to members of this anti-revolutionary and terrorist group."
211. It has been reported that recent Kurdish efforts to rebuild the area of Sulaimaniya, on the Iraqi side of the Iran-Iraq border, are under threat from the Iranian armed forces. It was alleged that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran had decided unilaterally to create a 15-mile empty zone on the Sulaimaniya-Iran border by driving Kurds out of the area and levelling houses and all other buildings.
212. In its reply, the Government stated that "this allegation is denied".
M. Political rights
213. It was reported that government agents are continuosly harassing members and sympathizers of the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), an Iranian opposition group headed by former Prime Minister Mr. Mehdi Bazargan. In a statement adressed to the Minister of Information, the Freedom Movement of Iran stated that "Every day our members are detained and subjected to interrogation and intimidation in order to force them to serve as informers or cease their activities with our movement".
214. It was reported that under a law passed on 24 October 1993 by the Majlis, Iranian civil servants are threatened with severe penalties for, inter alia, taking part in demonstrations or protest actions, entertaining unauthorized contacts with foreigners, membership in anti-regime or heretical organizations, membership of a freemason society and for causing political discontent and disaffection among people. The penalties prescribed in the law vary from oral and written reprimand, temporary and permanent dismissals, perpetual disqualification from working in public administration, cuts in salaries and temporary transfer to other provinces to lowering of the employee's civil service professional grade and status.
N. Situation of refugees
215. The Islamic Republic of Iran contains the highest number of refugees in the world. The number of refugees is currently put at 2,300,000. Since 1991, it has fallen by two million: it peaked that year at 4,300,000.
216. The refugees are chiefly Afghans and Iraqis by nationality. There are 2,200,000 Afghans. In 1990 there were as many as 2,900,000. They began to arrive in Iran in 1979, after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops. A voluntary repatriation programme was launched in December 1992, reducing their numbers by 700,000. Under a tripartite agreement between the Governments of Afghanistan and Iran and UNHCR, five exit stations were set up on the Afghan-Iranian border. There each returning Afghan refugee receives US$ 25 from UNHCR and 50 kilogrammes of wheat provided by the World Food Programme. Transport from Iran to the exit stations on the border is provided by the International Organization for Migration with funds from UNHCR. To date, IOM has transported 80,000 Afghan refugees to the stations.
217. Most of the Afghan refugees live in hamlets set up in the vicinity of Iranian towns. Only a minority live in refugee camps. Many work in the building sector. UNHCR provides health services, additional food, drinking water, shelter, education, career guidance and communal facilities. The World Food Programme has supplied food aid to 260,000 Afghan refugees.
218. The number of Iraqi refugees is currently increasing towards 100,000. The refugees are mainly Kurds and Shiite Muslims. About 60,000 live in refugee camps, according to a joint UNHCR/World Food Programme mission which visited Iran in May 1993. The remainder (40,000 or so) live in rural settlements. They began to arrive in April 1991, after the Iraq-Kuwait war and the ensuing repression by the Iraqi authorities of the Kurdish population in the north of Iraq and the Shiite Muslims in the south. At that time, 1,400,000 Iraqi Kurds arrived in Iran. Most of these refugees went back to Iraq, however, during the course of 1991.
219. Another migratory surge occurred in June 1993, with the arrival in Iran of 5,000 refugees from the south of Iraq, most of them Shiites. It is feared that this influx may be followed by other, larger ones in 1994.
220. It is also possible that refugees from Azerbaijan fleeing the war with Armenia for control of the enclave of Nagorny Karabakh will arrive in Iran. The Iranian Government is currently putting up temporary housing in Azerbaijan as a means of furnishing material assistance to Azeris displaced within their own country by the conflict, and has offered logistical support for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan across Iranian territory.
III. CONSIDERATIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
A. Content of the report
221. By resolution 1993/62, adopted on 10 March 1993, the Commission on Human Rights decided that the Special Representative should submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its forty-eighth session on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the situation of minority groups such as the Baha'is, and report to the Commission at its fiftieth session. The interim report, dated 8 November 1993, was issued as document A/48/526. That and this report, which supplements and updates it, make up a whole. The descriptions applied to them, interim and final, indicate a single drafting process. The short interval between the preparation of the two means that all the material in the interim report can be put to use, and makes this report an update of the other.
222. During the period covered by this report the Special Representative worked under the rules laid down in Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/94 A which, in paragraph 1, establishes that all reports submitted to the Commission should, as much as possible, not exceed the desirable 32-page limit. Hence the memoranda transmitting allegations to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been condensed, and some information and allegations received by the Special Representative have been omitted. Similarly, replies by the Iranian Government to allegations which do not appear in the reports have been left out, thus preserving the correspondence between allegations and replies within the limits of the restrictions on the number of pages to which the Special Representative is supposed to confine himself.
223. General Assembly resolutions 37/14 C and 47/202 B also lay down guidelines as to the maximum number of pages that reports for submission to the Assembly should contain, and the Special Representative followed them in preparing his interim report, omitting paragraphs of Government replies referring to information and allegations not appearing in the report. The current financial restrictions on the Organization have led to stricter enforcement of the rules and guidelines.
224. On 3 December 1993 the Iranian delegation announced to the Third Committee of the General Assembly that it was displeased at the omission of certain paragraphs of a Government reply contained in a communication from the delegation dated 27 October 1993, and stating that the Special Representative had omitted the paragraphs concerned for reasons unacceptable to the delegation. The Special Representative has given his reasons above. Government replies to allegations not appearing in the interim report will not be found in that report. It would of course have been preferable had the omission of the allegations and corresponding Government replies not taken place; this had never occurred before in reports prepared by the Special Representative, but it was imperative to reduce the number of pages in accordance with the guidelines issued by the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.
225. The Iranian delegation also complained that the Special Representative had not included a "detailed Government report on terrorist activities and operations of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran". That document was not published because the Special Representative simply did not receive it. Neither did it appear in the list of documents provided in note No. 3398, dated 22 October 1993, from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
226. Heeding the limit on the number of pages, the Special Representative has annexed to this report some of the documents mentioned in the note received from the Permanent Mission. He has not annexed the document entitled "Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran" because this report does not broach that topic; neither does the annex include the document entitled "The Islamic Republic of Iran, human rights and the problem of narcotic drugs" because the annex is 44 pages long, i.e. contains more pages than stipulated for the whole of this report.
227. This report has been drafted also taking into account the guidelines given in the letter from the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights dated 2 December 1993 addressed to special representatives and rapporteurs, chairmen of working groups and independent experts of the Commission on Human Rights submitting interim reports to the General Assembly. That letter asks for reports for submission to the Commission to be designed and drawn up basically as updates to interim reports, and for the need to facilitate the tasks of document publication and translation to be borne in mind. The Special Representative is aware that excessively lengthy reports create problems for publication, translation into the official languages of the Organization and timely distribution; he knows the difficulties the services concerned are facing, among them their inability to take on temporary staff.
228. The Special Representative, while not failing to mention those facts, allegations, considerations and observations which are, in his view, the most important, has adopted these standards in the preparation of this report, thus cooperating in the solution of the problems that the enormous volume of documents and financial and administrative restrictions have posed for general services.
B. The right to life
229. In considering this topic, reference should be made to chapter two, section A of this report and paragraphs 92 to 104 of the interim report. Information on executions was obtained from various sources, not only the reports appearing in the Iranian press. In earlier years it sufficed to read the Iranian press regularly in order to learn of most executions. The interim report mentions a study by Government officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran entitled "International monitoring of the human rights situation in Iran and comparative examination of three reports by Galindo Pohl" (A/48/526, para. 92). That study refers to the "negative effects of publication of reports on the executions and statements of the judicial authorities on the record of arrests and sentences determined for the convicts," and states that "publication of the above-said news was considerably reduced and one of the sources used by Galindo Pohl to provide documented and irrefutable reports was therefore neutralized."
230. Since September 1993, however, reports of executions have been appearing more frequently in the Iranian press. The Special Representative has been informed that between then and 31 December 1993 at least 35 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hence the use of the death penalty has not diminished radically, as the Special Representative requested in 1991 in his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-seventh session (E/CN.4/1991/35, para. 494 (a)), and the authorities have not taken the necessary steps for it to do so.
231. At least 19 people were executed in 1993 after being condemned to death by Islamic revolutionary courts for political offences, chiefly that of belonging to illegal opposition groups. At least seven were executed for disrupting public order or imperilling security; 15 for murder, homicide, armed robbery or rape; 11 for drug trafficking, possession or use and 2 for adultery. In other cases the charges were not specified. Most of the executions were carried out in public, the method used being hanging.
232. The Special Representative has received reports of 59 assaults, most of them lethal, on Iranian citizens abroad belonging to various opposition groups. This report only mentions cases in which Iranian agents are said, mainly by the judicial, political or administrative authorities in the countries concerned or by parliamentary bodies, to have been involved.
233. In his statement to the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 3 December 1993, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: "Despite the fact that the allegations which have been made against the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran as regards attacks on Iranian citizens abroad have always been categorically rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran and never been proven and the Special Representative himself admits in unambiguous terms the absence of conclusive data in this regard, yet the matter is discussed in detail in various parts of the interim report. Still worse, the report's conclusions are framed in such a way as to impart to the reader the impression that they were based on facts and conclusive data, which simply is not the case".
234. It is not the Special Representative's intention to give his readers impressions that might lead them to erroneous conclusions. The Special Representative cannot, however, but mention cases in which there are statements by judicial, political or administrative authorities containing specific indications of the involvement of Iranian agents, on the assumption that the authorities are well aware of what took place and have taken into account the consequences for international relations of their statements.
235. On 2 November 1993, examining magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière announced that initial enquiries into the killing of former Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and his personal secretary, Katibeh Fallouch, had been completed, and forwarded the file to the procurator's office in Paris. The former chief of Iranian Radio and Television in Paris, Massoud Hendi, the administrative secretary of the Iranian Embassy in Bern, Zeynal Sarhadi, and the adviser to the Iranian Minister of Telecommunications, Hossein Sheikhattar, were mentioned in the legal record. Hendi and Sarhadi, who have been in prison since late 1991, have been accused of being accomplices to murder and of criminal association in connection with a terrorist undertaking. Sheikhattar is the subject of an international arrest warrant. A further two Iranians have been charged, and another six arrest warrants against Iranian citizens have been issued.
236. The investigating magistrate of the Canton of Vaud, Roland Chatelain, has issued 13 international arrest warrants against Iranian citizens in connection with the killing of the Iranian opposition figure Kazem Radjavi, and transmitted the related rogatory commissions via Bern to the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, without receiving a reply. The crime, and entry into and exit from Switzerland, are said to have been prepared for in minute detail and carried out by a commando squad. Two of the 13 people covered by international arrest warrants, Mahsen Sharif Esfahani and Ahmad Taheri, were detained in Paris on 15 November 1992. On 24 November 1992 Switzerland requested their extradition. On 10 February 1993 the indictment division of the Court of Appeals in Paris handed down an opinion in favour of extradition and held it to be appropriate. On 29 december 1993, however, the two Iranian nationals were expelled from France and sent to Tehran.
237. In the case of the killings of the four leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran - Qassemlou Faction, a cable from Agence France Presse dated 28 October 1993 reports that the charge sheet drawn up by the Karlsruhe Federal Procurator's Office, which has jurisdiction over terrorist offences, explicitly states that the Iranian intelligence services were implicated. The Secretary of State for the German Chancellor's Office, Bernd Schmidbauer, said on 21 October 1993 that the possibility that the Iranian Minister of Intelligence was implicated in the killings could not be ruled out, although he admitted that the German intelligence services had given him no hard proof.
238. The statements by the Italian Minister of the Interior, Mr. Nicola Mancino, concerning the killing of Mohammad Hossein Naghdi appear in the preceding chapter. The interim report also mentions a motion passed unanimously by the Italian Senate on 5 August 1883 (A/48/526, para. 104).
239. On the killing of Ali Akbar Ghorbani and two Turkish writers, the Turkish Minister of the Interior, Mr. Ismet Sezgin, said it was "clear that those who committed the murders had ties with Iran"; he added that they had been trained "at a military camp located between Tehran and Qom"; and it was believed that three members of the commando squad had sought refuge in Iran.
240. In other killings of Iranian citizens abroad, the authorities of the countries concerned have refrained from making specific accusations. In the absence of specific data, the Special Representative makes no reference to those cases under this section.
C. Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
241. Despite the express prohibition in article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reports continue to be received of persistent and widespread torture and ill-treatment, chiefly to force detainees to confess, make public statements of repentance, or inform on the organizations they belong to. In October 1993 a man accused of robbery and drug trafficking had his hand amputated in Mashhad. In August, 14 people had four fingers of their right hands amputated.
D. Administration of justice
242. Chapter II, section D, of this report, like paragraphs 107 to 109 of the interim report, provides extensive information and comment on the administration of justice. It is worth repeating that there have been some reforms of the law, particularly on penal justice, concerning appeal against decisions and sentences and the presence of a defence lawyer. The appeals mechanism has worked fairly well, even in the case of death sentences. There are not the necessary stipulations about the presence of a defence lawyer, on the other hand, to ensure the due process of law. This reform is still unsatisfactory when measured against international standards. Even with these shortcomings, moreover, the reforms do not apply to trials before Islamic revolutionary courts.
243. The new Islamic Penalties Act, which replaces the 1982 Penal Code, follows the basic layout of the old law; it has not introduced the technical reforms that would make the punishment fit the offender's particular circumstances, adjusting criminal responsibility to match the degree of involvement in the offence, and it continues to function with very broad and imprecise definitions of offences. This vagueness in the categorization of offences is especially noticeable in the case of offences punishable by the death penalty, and is one of the factors that have led to its being used so frequently.
244. Stoning, amputation and flogging have not been abolished although the number of cases in which flogging is authorized has declined. The courts have wide discretion in matters of public policy owing to the vague way in which offences are defined and categorized.
245. Judges do not have security of tenure and may be arbitrarily dismissed; this deprives their independence of a valued buttress. The Lawyers' Association is still being run by the administrative authorities and the election of its Board of Directors, scheduled for 9 October 1991 and indefinitely postponed, has yet to take place.
246. Information has been received on acts of clemency benefiting numerous prisoners during 1993, including individuals convicted of drug trafficking, terrorism and military offences. The total number of prisoners granted amnesties or commutations of sentence was 12,797.
E. Arrests and prison situation
247. Chapter II, section D, of this report and paragraphs 110 to 111 of the interim report deal with this subject. They include statements made by the Iranian Director General of Prisons on 26 August 1993 reporting that the number of people in prison in the Islamic Republic of Iran rose to 99,900 during the Iranian year ending on 20 March 1993. Hence it can be inferred that the number of political prisoners was around 19,900.
248. The Director General of Prisons also reported that the prison situation had deteriorated for two main reasons: shortage of staff and shortage of space. Hence the project to increase the number of penal and penitentiary centres and expand existing ones, and another project to send people accused of drug trafficking and drug addicts to Farour Island in the Persian Gulf.
F. Freedom of opinion and expression and the
situation of the press
249. On the subject of freedom of opinion and expression and the situation of the press, the reader should refer to chapter II, section E, of this report and paragraphs 112 to 117 of the interim report. These freedoms were affected by interference of two kinds in 1993: the institution of criminal proceedings against media chiefs and attacks by uncontrolled mobs on the premises of newspapers and magazines with no action taken by the authorities to stop or punish them. The fact that these mobs claim during their protests to be defending Islamic values does not entitle them to resort to violence, uttering death threats and disrupting public order and even going so far as to start fires, loot and destroy property.
250. The editorial opinion expressed in one of the major dailies, Kayhan, on 18 September 1993, and the editorial in the magazine Gozaresh-e Hafteh on 21 November 1993, both of them cited in section E of the previous chapter, help to clarify the situation of the press.
251. After preparing his report to the General Assembly, the Special Representative was informed that the publication Hamshari had been closed down; that a Kayhan journalist, Mahmoud Asghari, had been detained; that the editor-in-chief of Salam, Abbas Abdi, had been arrested; and that the director of Salam, Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha, and the editor of Kayhan, Mehdi Nasiri, had been summoned to appear in court.
252. Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha said that if Mr. Abbas Abdi had to answer for a violation of the Press Act he should appear before the special bodies established under the Act, not an Islamic revolutionary court.
253. On 22 December 1993, Mr. Abbas Abdi was sentenced by the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court to one year's imprisonment and forty lashes. The offences of which he was found guilty were not specified.
G. Freedom of religion and the situation
of the Baha'is
254. The Special Representative was informed that a bishop of the Chaldean Christian Church had been expelled from Iran, that the church's Bible Society had been closed down and that some of its church buildings and schools had been shut.
255. In response to the information in his earlier report to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1993/41, paras. 218 and 219; 244 to 252; and 308), the Special Representative received from Tehran communications from entities associated with various churches. The Armenia Ararat Cultural Organization said that the rights of the Armenian religious community were guaranteed under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and that the rights of the community as a religious minority were treated with the greatest respect by the Iranian Government. The representative of the Jewish Community in the Majlis, Kouros Keyvanki, said that the community was free to practise its ceremonies, rites and traditions in accordance with its religion and ran its synagogues, schools, old people's homes and cemeteries autonomously. The Armenian Diocesan Council of Tehran said that there was complete religious freedom in Iran, and that the Armenian community had two representatives in the Islamic Consultative Majles and its own educational, cultural, sporting and welfare facilities. The representative of the Armenians in the Majles, Vartan Vartanian, made similar comments. The opinions expressed in communications sent by members of minority religious communities to the Special Representative from outside Iran are very different.
256. In earlier reports, the Special Representative followed the fortunes of Mehdi Dibaj, a Christian pastor who has been in prison for the past seven years (see, for example, E/CN.4/1993/41, para. 248). As he completed this report, he was informed that pastor Dibaj had been condemned to death on charges of apostasy by an Islamic revolutionary court in the city of Sari. He sent an urgent message to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, asking the Government to make sure pastor Dibaj could avail himself of the safeguards laid down in articles 6, 14 and 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in articles 4 to 8 of the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50. He also asked the Iranian Government to consider granting clemency. Hours later, the Government announced that Mehdi Dibaj had been set free.
257. The situation of the Baha'is has been analyzed by the Special Representative in the light of documents signed and sealed by Iranian authorities and officials setting forth precepts and arguments that prove that the Baha'i religious community suffers discrimination and harassment. In 1993, 10 Baha'is were sent to prison, joining another six who were already there. These latter include Mr. Bakshu'llah Mithaqi and Kayvan Khalajabadi, whose death sentences were confirmed on 23 November 1993. According to verdict No. 81, paragraph D, they were found guilty, among other things, of "transmitting information to the United Nations", presumably a reference to the meeting the Special Representative had with them during his third visit to the country. The Special Representative sent an urgent message to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 30 December 1993, asking for the two to be allowed to avail themselves of the safeguards laid down in international instruments and, perhaps, be granted clemency; he also reminded the Minister of the content of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/64, paragraph 1 (a) of which urges Governments to refrain from any act of intimidation or reprisal against those who give evidence to representatives of United Nations human rights bodies or supply them with information. The urgent message also covered the case of Mr. Raamadan-Ali Dhulfaqari, a Baha'i condemned to death for apostasy.
H. Situation of women
258. The situation described in the interim report has not changed (see A/48/526, paras. 59 to 66 and 121 to 123). Above all, campaigns to enforce appropriate Islamic dress have continued, and these on occasion have degenerated into incidents in the streets where physical punishment has been inflicted on women not properly dressed.
259. After completing his interim report, the Special Representative was informed that on 2 September 1993, during one such campaign, an official killed Miss Bahareh Vojdani, aged 20, in a suburb of Tehran. Twenty-six young women were arrested on 2 November 1993, again in Tehran, for not wearing suitable veils at a private party. These reports were published in the Iranian press, as was the fact that the Islamic Consultative Majles had rejected several bills that would have permitted women doctors aged 28 or under to leave the country in order to pursue their studies, or set up a committee for women's affairs in Parliament.
260. In its statement to the Third Committee of the General Assembly, the Iranian delegation flatly rejected the Special Representative's criticisms on this score, saying that the Special Representative was ignorant of Islamic precepts and judicial precedents. The Special Representative must make it clear that his mandate is to make comments, observations or recommendations not in the light of Islamic law or judicial precedent, but rather based on the norms, principles and precepts of international human rights law and the international instruments which the Islamic Republic of Iran has undertaken before the international community to respect and apply. His assessments of this and other matters are based on current international standards, not national law.
I. Drug trafficking
261. Drug trafficking and use is a problem which the Government identifies as one of the most serious - if not the most serious -the country faces. Iran's geographical situation makes the country a transit route for drug transport from the "Golden Triangle" to Europe. Local use has also been increasing, and official figures indicate a million users.
262. Some time ago the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran launched a frontal attack on the drugs traffic. Information received indicates that drug trafficking gangs are well armed, have advanced communications equipment and fight police patrols. Rehabilitation centres for addicts have been set up, but in some cases matters reach the application of the death penalty. The chief of the anti-drugs campaign said on 23 June that "addicts arrested for the third time may be executed".
263. The Iranian Government believes that there are differences of opinion and an ambivalent attitude among United Nations bodies towards the problem of drug trafficking in Iran. It says that the Subcommission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East has praised Iran for its open campaign against drug trafficking. It probably finds the ambivalence in comparing the Subcommission's praise with the Special Representative's criticism.
264. It needs to be repeated, as it often has been before, that the Special Representative is not against action to combat the drug traffic since drugs have been a major scourge of mankind in recent years. He does not criticize the anti-drugs campaign, but he does insist that as it is carried out offenders should be given a proper trial with guarantees of the due process of law, and that the death penalty should not be applied to them outside the narrow limits authorized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.
265. From statements by the Iranian Government itself the problem of drug trafficking, like that of domestic drug use, is known to have been on the increase. This indicates that the draconian application of the death penalty has not been productive. Never in the course of history, in fact, has the death penalty cured social ills whose causes continue to obtain beyond the range of intimidation and fear.
J. Refugees in Iran
266. Section N of the preceding chapter contains detailed information on the situation of refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran, mostly obtained in interviews between the Special Representative and officials of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
267. As he completed this report, the Special Representative received news of the settlement in Iran of 41,765 Azeri refugees fleeing the war in Azerbaijan for control of the enclave of Nagorny Karabakh. They had been put into seven camps run by the Iranian Red Crescent Society, mainly in the border district of Pars Abad. The international community ought to support the Iranian Government's efforts to meet these people's material needs.
K. Relatives of Iranian citizens abroad
268. The Special Representative has received a number of letters from Iranians living in foreign countries and Iranian refugees protesting that relatives have been summoned to police stations, Islamic Revolutionary Komitehs or the Ministry of Intelligence to supply the addresses and telephone numbers of relatives of theirs abroad. In some cases it is claimed that they were asked to urge their relatives to return home. In others, relatives living in Iran were asked to collaborate with the Iranian intelligence services, and were threatened with reprisals if they refused. Particular concern was expressed about relatives of Iranian citizens living in Iraq and Turkey.
269. Comparing recent events with those of previous years, one has the impression that the situation did not change markedly in 1993. The requirements of due process of law have not yet been met, and no plans are known for making good existing legal shortcomings. The same problems occur, and people remain just as unsure of the reactions of officials, especially those responsible for public policy, to events that depart from current guidelines in the view of the authorities concerned.
270. The official position of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is that this criticism stems from the Special Representative's ignorance of Islamic law. The fact is that international bodies monitoring human rights are required to base themselves on international principles and instruments, and national laws, institutions and practices must change to match international laws, not vice versa. This is a fundamental stumbling-block which constantly gives rise to differences in assessment, and up to now it has not been overcome.
271. The Special Representative wishes to repeat the general comments made in his report to the General Assembly, and feels there is enough evidence to indicate that the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Islamic Republic of Iran should remain under international scrutiny.
272. The Special Representative makes the following recommendations to the Commission on Human Rights on action which, from the viewpoint of the international instruments in force, would in his view be appropriate:
(a) To urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again to take urgent and effective action to prevent its secret service agents from harassing Iranians living outside the country and their relatives living within it, or mounting attempts on the lives of exiles and refugees, whatever their political leanings; to investigate offences reported, particularly offences in which the authorities of other countries implicate Iranian agents; and to cooperate wholeheartedly with those authorities in investigating and punishing such offences;
(b) To remind the Iranian Government of the need to carry out technical reforms to its penal legislation, and to ensure the due process of law, with special emphasis on the openness of political trials and the presence of a qualified defence lawyer. The Government should also be recommended to recognize full equality of rights between men and women in its civil legislation, and to rely solely on individual beliefs and choice where social traditions and cultural mores are concerned.
(c) As regards the press and freedom of expression, to urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to deal with the problems caused by groups intimidating the media by attacking media facilities, and to take appropriate legal steps to protect newspapers, magazines and journalists and punish those who instigate and perpetrate outrages, eliminating violence as a means of cowing the spoken and written press;
(d) Since the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was forced to leave Iran at the Government's request in March 1992, and bearing in mind that there exists a perfectly valid agreement between ICRC and the Government, to urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to abide by the terms of that agreement;
(e) As regards cooperation by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the Commission on Human Rights through its Special Representative, it is appropriate to point out that it would be to the advantage of all concerned with human rights as they understand them in Iran were the Government to offer the Special Representative its full cooperation, inter alia by allowing him to pay a fourth visit to the country.
Letter dated 22 October 1993 from the Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office
at Geneva, addressed to the Special Representative
I wish to inform you that we received a set of information reflecting different aspects of the established process to protect human rights in my country which is being forwarded in addition to the answers provided in response to the allegations transmitted by you last September. The information divided into six categories is as follows:*
1. Clemency measures in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
2. Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
3. The Islamic Republic of Iran, human rights and the problem of narcotic drugs.
4. Convicts of the High Disciplinary Court for Judges.
5. List of accused staff members of prisons organizations of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
6. Pending replies to the allegations raised in the past reports of the Special Representative.
(Signed) Sirous Nasseri---------
* For reasons of economy, not all the information forwarded could be included in the annex. See paragraphs. 221-228.
Clemency measures in the Islamic Republic of Iran
(March 1992 to September 1993)
1. On the occasion of the Fitr religious feast (12 Farvardin), Iranian calendar:
A. Amnesty for the drug offences 287 prisoners
B. Amnesty for terrorists' crimes 141 "
C. Amnesty for general offences 59 "
D. Mitigation of death penalty to life imprisonment 11 "
Total 498 prisoners
2. On the occasion of Qurban and Ghadir religious feast of the year 1371, Iranian calendar:
A. Amnesty for drug offences 1 181 prisoners
B. Amnesty for military offences 213 "
C. Amnesty for terrorists' crimes 51 "
D. Amnesty for general offences 58 "
E. Mitigation of death penalty for life imprisonment 25 "
Total 1 528 prisoners
3. On the occasion of the Prophet's birthday (the year 1371 of the Iranian calendar):
A. Amnesty for drug offences 1 518 prisoners
B. Amnesty for military offences 215 "
C. Amnesty for terrorists' crimes 8 "
D. Amnesty for general offences 25 "
E. Mitigation of death penalty for life imprisonment 15 "
Total 1 781 prisoners
4. On the occasion of Mabath religious feast in the year 1371, Iranian calendar, a total number of 1,780 prisoners were amnestied or their sentences were commuted:
5. On the occasion of the 15th Shaaban of the year 1371, Iranian calendar:
A. Amnesty for drug offences 601 prisoners
B. Amnesty for general offences 8 "
C. Amnesty for terrorists' crimes 8 "
D. Mitigation of death penalty to 15 years' imprisonment 2 "
Total 619 prisoners
6. On the occasion of Fitr religious feast, of the year 1372 of the Iranian calendar:
A. Amnesty for drug offences 1 324 prisoners
B. Amnesty for military offences 261 "
C. Amnesty for general offences 66 "
D. Amnesty for terrorists' crimes 91 "
Total 1 682 prisoners
7. On the occasion of Qurban and Ghadir religious feast of the year 1372 of the Iranian calendar:
A. Amnesty and mitigation for drug offences 1 238 prisoners
B. Amnesty and mitigation for military offences 1 404 "
C. Amnesty and mitigation of terrorism crimes 11 "
D. Amnesty and mitigation for general offences 112 "
E. Mitigation of death penalty for life imprisonment 3 "
Total 2 768 prisoners
8. On the occasion of the Prophet's birthday a total number of 2,141 prisoners were amnestied or their sentences commuted.
* Total number of prisoners amnestied or their sentences commuted during the period from March 1992 till September 1993
The Islamic Republic of Iran, human rights
and the problem of narcotics
Narcotics, as one of the biggest and the most complicated problems of human society, is the problem for most of the countries of the world, and few members of today's international community can resist it. The two regions of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent which are located respectively in South-East Asia and the western margin of Middle East, together with the northern part of South America, form the largest sources of supply of narcotics to the world, and the international community's effort has not achieved outstanding success in confronting drug smugglers and uprooting production sources in the three mentioned regions.
The Islamic Republic of Iran with its strategic location alongside the Persian Gulf and the Oman sea makes the connecting bridge between East and South-West Asia to Europe. This region, which has been situated on the route of the historical Silk Road, for thousands of years has been located adjacent to one of the three biggest areas for production of narcotics, i.e. the Golden Crescent. For many years, under the protection and vast escort of international gangs of drug traffickers who are equipped with the most developed and sophisticated equipment and arms, a huge amount of narcotics, after production and packaging, has been smuggled to Iran by penetrating through the eastern borders to the west and north-west gates of the country and then through Turkish territory it has been sent to the European countries. As an example, according to existing records available, in 1979 itself, which coincided with the last days of the despotic regime of Shah, more than 11,076 kg of narcotics were seized.
Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the general policy of Iran's Government was based on preservation and promotion of human rights and respecting all human values either in Iran or other nations. Thereby, an all-round campaign against drug trafficking (as a problem which was planned by the leadership of Mafia organizations and has been encouraged by some superpowers in order to seek further exploitation of oppressed nations, particularly the Iranian population) became one of the most important priorities of Iran's government agenda. Therefore, since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution the amount of confiscated drugs and the people who have been arrested on charges of collaboration with international criminals have been on the rise. Figures presented by related organizations are testimony to this claim.
In 1981, two years after the culmination of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the amount of confiscated drugs increased to twice the amount confiscated in one year before the Revolution and reached 27,719 kg. Attempts and achievements in eliminating this inhuman trade through the decisive and effective actions of the Iranian Government were continued during subsequent years. In 1992 approximately 65,941 kg of drugs were discovered and confiscated with the extensive help of the people. But a heavy price was paid in order to gain these attainments. In this regard, since 1980 until now, 364 members of the Headquarters for the Campaign Against Drugs were martyred and 467 other people were injured during these operations. Although these figures, on one hand, are indicative of decisive attempts by the Islamic Republic of Iran in its campaign against those involved in this inauspicious trade, on the other hand they are demonstrative of increased distribution of drugs and efforts of international bands to preserve Iran as a transit road for sending the drug to Europe.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has done whatever it could with regard to this hard and exhausting confrontation and, in spite of bearing the political and economic problems and difficulties imposed upon it, especially eight years of aggression by Iraq's military forces against its territory, it has mobilized its utmost possibilities and powers in this way. Not only have the en route countries, especially European countries, not encouraged it, but by bringing up many allegations and ignoring these efforts they have always tried to put Iran under political and economic pressures by imposing dual and discriminatory politics. These politics, along with groundless allegations about the high rate of execution in Iran, mean exactly ignoring the vast crime of these groups and the indirect encouragement of these international bandits.
The international gangs of drug traffickers, while providing their consignment to the western boundaries of the country, evacuate and sell a big part of it too for consumption in Iran's market. As a result, a big part of our country's labour forces, who are mainly the youths, with the aim of achieving welfare and wealth, turn to drug smuggling instead of using their potentialities and capital in appropriate ways. This figure is increasing each year as a result of economic pressures of some of the Western countries upon Iran with the aim of making us surrender our country, in a way such that now statistics estimate the number of addicts at up to 1 million. On the other hand, development of addiction has caused many other social difficulties such as prostitution, theft, murder, divorce and abandoning of many of this country's children which make double the difficulties of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
But the Islamic Republic of Iran has not neglected the preventive and amending measures, and in spite of all domestic problems has made every necessary effort for the construction of roads and posts along the eastern borders, deployment of forces in the critical areas to prevent entry of the smugglers into the country, establishment of rehabilitation centres for the addicts, forbidding cultivation of the opium poppy inside the country and announcing its readiness for cooperation with other States. But in spite of internal success in this regard, the international forum has alleged baseless charges against Iran. It is normal that each country, considering its geopolitical situation, has adopted its own policy to confront the plight of drug trafficking. In this context, the Islamic Republic of Iran, while on different occasions has been praised by the United Nations Subcommission on Illicit Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East and other related international bodies, is not an exception to the above-mentioned rule. The main point here is the existence of a dual attitude and different views among United Nations specialized organs, which in no way can be justified and accepted. It requires coordination and serious review of the members of the international community to pave the way for a just and fair confrontation with the present problem, and leaves no opportunity for some countries to take advantage of the other countries' problems.
In order to further clarify the situation, and to identify the anti-humanitarian measures taken by international gangs of drug traffickers in Iran and the efforts made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in solving this international problem, we would like to draw the attention of the Commission to the existing statistics and figures concerning the last year's discoveries and the number of persons arrested on charges of drug trafficking and its distribution.
Figures regarding addicts who have gone through rehabilitation courses
(March 1991 - January 1993)
Figures regarding confiscated drugs in the first six months of 1993
Kind of drug
|Other kinds of drug|
Figures regarding arrested drug traffickers and their confiscated
weapons and vehicles in the first six months of 1993
|Arrested drug traffickers||7 127|
| Confiscated arms||510|
List of the convicts of the High Disciplinary Court for Judges
during the first six months of 1372
|Nr. of the court verdict|
|Mohammad Ghasem Ashabi||President of the Penal Court Nr. 1 of Semnan||Unlawful acts and issuance of unsubstantiated verdict|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Mohammad Taghi Pir Bonieh Known as Kashani||President of the Penal Court of Ahvaz||Unlaw acts|
Deduction of 1/6 of salary for 4 months
|Ali Nazari||Assistant to Public Prosecutor of Tehran Branch Nr. 11||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/10 of salary for 2 months
|Amir Hossein Sepehri||General Investigator in Legal Medicine of Tehran||Negligence in investigation of the case|
Deduction of 1/6 of salary for 4 months
|Hamid Hosseini||President of the Penal Court of Ardebil||Negligence in investigation of the case|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Mohammad Namazian||President of Justice Dept. of Yaasouj||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/10 of salary for 3 months
|Hossein Dehghan Dehnavi||Public Prosecutor of Baaft||Negligence and unlawful acts|
Deduction of _ of salary for 3 months
|Samad Khaneshi||President of the Independent Court of Kalibar||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of ¼ of salary for 3 months
|Samad Khaneshi||President of the Independent Court of Kalibar||Unlaw acts|
Deduction of ¼ of salary for 5 months
|Enaiat Allah Ghasemi||Deputy of the then Public Prosecutor of Chalous||Negligence and unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Hojjat-l-Isla m Hassan Naderi||President of Nr. 1 Penal Court of Tonakabon||Negligence and unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Ali Akbar Soleimani||Assistant to Public Prosecutor of Arak||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/7 of salary for 3 months
|Hossein Mashaiekh||Assistant to Public Prosecutor of Arak||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/7 of salary for 3 months
| Abbas Ghaderi||Assistant to Public Prosecutor of Kashan||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Ahmad Afshar||Assistant to Public Prosecutor in Revolutionary Court of Masjid Soleiman||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/5 of salary for 3 months
|Behzad Kamjou||Assistant to Public Prosecutor of Kermanshah||Unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/10 of salary for 2 months
|Mohammad Taghi Hassani||President of the Independent Court of Mamasani||Negligence and unlawful acts|
Deduction of 1/10 of salary for 3 months
List of accused staff members of prisons organizations
of the Islamic Republic of Iran
|Father' s name|
|Naser Aghaei||Ali||Receiving bribe from prisoners and embezzlement and extra-marital relations||Discharged from responsibility and under investigation||Manager of Evin prison workshop|
|Mohammad Rega Selsefour||Gholama li||Bribery and helping a prisoner to escape from prison|
|Evin prison staff member|
|Ahmad Kasiri Bid Hendi||Abbas||Unauthorized use of professional position and forging the title of prison authorities and bribery and extra-marital relations|
|Prisons organization staff member|
|Ali Mohseni Nia||Ghoiam Hossein||Forging the title of prison director and fraud and extorting money from prisoners' families|
|Prisons organization staff member|
|Mohammad Shafiei||Akbar||Forging the title of prison director and fraud and extorting money from prisoners' families|
|Prisons organization staff member|
|Majid Davariar||Hossein||Fraud and forging the titles of prisons organization authorities|
|Prisons organization staff member|
|Seyed Hashem Sadr||Beating prisoners|
|Director of Sari Rehabilitati on Centre|
|Alireza Yusefi Pour||Ismaeil||Beating and harassment of prisoners|
|Shahid Kachonei prison guard|
|Changiz Khan Sheikhi||Javad||Creating inconvenience for prisoners' families|
|Prisons organization staff member|
| Mohsem Zareei Mahmoun Abadi||Jafar||Creating inconvenience for prisoners' families|
|Prisons organization staff member|
|Mohammad Hossein Saghi||Unauthorized use of professional position and embezzlement and extra-marital relations|
|General Director of prison organization in Sistan Province|
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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights