Iran: Persons charged with helping anti-revolutionaries; punishment; access to lawyers; possibility of release on bail after date has been set with Revolutionary Court (1999-2002)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||24 April 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||IRN38851.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Persons charged with helping anti-revolutionaries; punishment; access to lawyers; possibility of release on bail after date has been set with Revolutionary Court (1999-2002), 24 April 2002, IRN38851.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be492c.html [accessed 18 May 2013]|
As "the sole legal institution charged with safeguarding the revolution" (Resalat 3 Sept. 2001) the Revolutionary Court is "charged with the responsibility of hearing and trying charges of terrorism and offenses against national security" (Netiran.com, 1993). Reports of recent accusations of anti-revolutionary activity in Iran have been made in conjunction with charges including, inter alia:
acting against national security, (IRNA 30 Nov. 2000; DFN 8 Mar. 2001);
propagating against the system, (IRNA 30 Dec. 2001; ibid. 30 Nov. 2000);
conspiring to overthrow the system of the Islamic Republic (HRW May 2001)
establishing an illegal group, (IRNA 30 Nov. 2000) and,
anti-revolutionary propaganda/publishing lies in order to incite public opinion (IRNA 30 Dec. 2001; ibid. 5 June 2001; ibid. 30 Nov. 2000; DFN 8 Mar. 2001)
According to Iran's Islamic Penal Code, the penalties for "crimes against internal and external security of the country," include:
Article 498: Anyone ... who forms or administers a faction, association or branch of an association of more than two people in or outside the country ... with the intention of disrupting the country's security ... shall be sentenced to a term of two to ten years in prison.
Article 499: Anyone who enters into membership with one of the factions or associations or the branches of associations mentioned in Article 498 above, shall be sentenced to an imprisonment of three to five years unless it is proved that the perpetrator has had no knowledge about the intentions of said group.
Article 500: Anyone who ... makes propaganda activity against the system of [Iran] or in favour of groups and organizations opposed to the system shall be sentenced to an imprisonment of three months to one full year (Pars Associates 1983, 1).
In practice, recent punishments have included: "four years' imprisonment on charges of acting against national security and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic regime (DFN 8 Mar. 2001); 12 months on charges of "propagating against the Islamic Republic and ... for illegal activities during the 1999 unrest," and six months for "anti-revolutionary propaganda" (IRNA 30 Dec. 2001). A 2001 trial concluded with one individual "sentenced on appeal to eight years' imprisonment ... for organising a conference termed anti-Islamic' and anti-revolutionary,'" another to four and a half years for propaganda, and a third "sentenced on appeal to six years in jail ... for, among other things, participating" in said conference (RSF 27 Aug. 2001).
Reports indicate that those accused before the Iranian Revolutionary Court are sometimes denied access to attorneys (AI 12 May 2000; ibid. 17 Nov. 2000; Middle East Times 11 Jan. 2002); Amnesty International described it as a "continuing pattern of ... prolonged incommunicado detention" for arrested people (12 May 2000). Trial reports, however, include interviews from or refer to defendant's lawyers (IRNA 30 Dec. 2001; Nimrooz 11 Jan. 2002; BBC 22 Apr. 2000; AI 17 Nov. 2000). For example, during the Revolutionary Court case of Ezatollah Sahabi, IRNA reported that the accused "appeared before the court along with his attorney ... to hear the rest of the indictment read out by the public prosecutor" (22 Jan. 2002). However, according to a quote attributed to Iranian lawyer Abdol Fattah Solatani, his role as a lawyer for six defendants accused of "acting against national security" and spreading propaganda, "was only formal" (Nimrooz 11 Jan 2002; Middle East Times 11 Jan. 2002).
The opportunity for release on bail exists in cases before the Revolutionary Court both "pending appeal" (DFN 8 Mar. 2001) and after the trial date is set (IRNA 1 Oct. 2001; ibid. 29 Sept. 2001).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International (AI). 11 November 2000. "Torture: Urgent Action Needed: Akbar Ganji."
_____. 12 May 2000. "Iran: Amnesty International Calls for Fair and Open Trials in Iran." (AI Index: MDE 13/009/2000)
BBC News. 7 March 2002. "Iranian Activists Released on Bail."
_____. 22 April 2000. "Iranian Reformist Journalist Arrested."
Digital Freedom Network (DFN). 8 March 2001. Writers in Prison Committee of International P.E.N. "Mehrangiz Kar and Shahla Lahiji: Female Writers in Prison."
Human Rights Watch (HRW). May 2001. "Stifling Dissent: The Human Rightrs Consequences of Inter-Factional Struggle in Iran."
Iranian Revolutionary News Agency (IRNA) [Tehran, in English]. 22 January 2002. "Iran: Nationalist-Religious' Activist Sahabi Appears Before Revolutionary Court." (FBIS-NES-2002-0122 22 Jan. 2002/WNC)
_____. 30 December 2001. "Iran: Berlin Conference Defendants Cleared of Acting Against National Security." (NEXIS)
_____. 7 October 2001. "Detained Journalist Morteza Kazemian Released on Bail." (FBIS-NES-2001-1007 7 Oct. 2001/WNC)
_____. 29 September 2001. "Detained Nationalist Dissident Freed on Bail." (FBIS-NES-2001-0929 29 Sept. 2001/WNC)
_____. 5 June 2001. "Iran: Court Summons Indicted Journalist." (FBIS-NES-2001-0605 5 June 2001/WNC).
_____. 30 November 2000. "Dissident Arrives in Court Refusing to Wear Zebra Striped' Pyjamas." (BBC Summary 1 Dec. 2000/NEXIS)
Middle East Times [Cairo]. 11 January 2002. "Iran Blocks Access to Lawyers."
Netiran.com. 1993. "The Judiciary."
Nimrooz [London]. 11 January 2002. Vol. 13, No. 669. "Trials Continue of Liberal Opponents."
Pars Associates, Legal Information Service. Tehran, Iran. 1983. Z. Majdzadeh, M. Khajeh Nouri, M. R. Matine, G. H. Guillot. "The Islamic Penal Code."
Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). 27 August 2001. "A Journalist Sentenced to Eight Years' Imprisonment."
Resalat [Tehran, in Persian]. 3 September 2001. "Iran: Minister's Definition of Subversion' Judged too Lax." (FBIS-NES-2001-0918 3 September 2001/WNC)
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites including:
International Constitutional Law Website
Iran Law Library
Washington Law: Foreign and International Law
World News Connection