Lawmaker Says Iran Law Empowering Guards Intelligence Adopted Without Vote
At least three laws have been enacted and implemented in recent years in Iran without parliamentary approval, an outspoken member of the legislative body disclosed on June 16.
Ali Motahari referred to one of these laws that tasks the fearsome Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) the role of bailiff for the hardliner Judiciary.
“The decision has been implemented as law without being debated on the floor of Majles,” Motahari asserted, adding, “Therefore, it’s illegal and should be canceled.”
Motahari’s disclosed the issue in a recent interview with the monopolized state-run Radio&TV’s conservative daily, Jam-e Jam, which censored some of his remarks.
Criticizing the omissions, Motahari published the comments on social media.
The IRGC and judiciary officials had repeatedly declared that the Intelligence Organization acts as judicial bailiff. However, they never explained who had approved the arrangement without a parliamentary vote.
In the experimental implementation of the “Criminal Procedure Act” in 2013, the IRGC Intelligence Organization (IRGCIO) was not mentioned, but two years later, some articles of the Code were amended, adding the name IRGCIO as one of the entities serving the judiciary as bailiff.
Nevertheless, Motahari insists that this is illegal since it was never debated in parliament.
Judiciary bailiffs in Iran enjoy extensive powers including cooperation with the judicial authorities in uncovering crimes, initial interrogations, preventing the suspects from hiding or fleeing, and preserving crime evidence.
The IRGCIO’s involvement and meddling in the legal cases in recent years has triggered a heated security debate in Iran.
Although the Intelligence Ministry has on many occasions noted that its counterespionage department is the sole authority to decide on the fate of people suspected of spying for foreign governments, the IRGCIO has been active in arresting and interrogating suspects targeted for such accusations.
In a controversial case, in August 2016 a member of President Hassan Rouhani’s nuclear negotiations team, Abdol Rasoul Dorri Esfahani was accused by the IRGCIO of spying for Britain and the U.S.
The Intelligence Ministry stepped in and declared Dorri Esfahani innocent. Nevertheless, the judiciary disregarded the announcement and recognizing the IRGCIO as its bailiff, followed the allegations against Dorri Esfahani.
Working under Hamid Baeidinejad (currently Tehran’s ambassador to London), since late 2014, Dorri Esfahani was a member of the Iranian team in the negotiations leading to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
In October 2017, Dorri-Esfahani was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for espionage.
Motahari, who is known for not mincing his words, has blasted the Islamic Republic judiciary over other issues as well.
“Restricting the political detainees to pick an attorney from the limited list of lawyers approved by the head of the judiciary is blatant discrimination” against suspects, Motahari has affirmed.
Meanwhile, lawyers and legal experts have complained that the primary courts, even the courts of appeals, have implemented the restriction for all suspects in security-related cases.
However, Article 3 of the “Citizenship Rights Law” (2004) required courts and prosecution offices to respect the right of the accused to legal counsel and to provide the accused with the services of a defense attorney. Article 35 of the Islamic Constitution also recognizes the “right to elect an attorney” in all courts and requires the courts to provide opportunities for the realization of this right.
Furthermore, Motahari has protested the elimination of Article 190 of the Criminal Procedure Act that banned initial interrogations in the absence of legal counsel.
In the meantime, Motahari has urged the country’s newly appointed head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raeisi and other officials to cooperate in reforming the whole judicial system in Iran while taking the legal experts opinion into account.
Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati, commonly known as Raeisi or Raisi, was directly appointed by the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as the head of judiciary last March.
Raeisi, 59, is one of the members of a notorious quartet responsible for the 1988 executions of thousands of Iranian political prisoners who were doing their terms behind bars.