Maryam Rajavi’s viewpoints on human rights in Iran
The Iranian Resistance struggles for the establishment of freedom, equality, and democracy in Iran and a republic based on the separation of religion and state. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) underscores its commitment to revive human rights in Iran and abolish the death penalty after the clerical regime’s overthrow.
The NCRI fully adheres to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the “Convention against Torture,” and the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” It also seeks to set up a modern legal system based on the principles of presumption of innocence, the right to defense, effective judicial protection, the right to be tried in a public court, and the total independence of judges.
• The religious dictatorship ruling Iran has launched a major assault on the Iranian people’s right to life. Since Day One, the mullahs have founded the pillars of their rule on eliminating the Iranian people’s human rights; they waged war on the people of Kurdistan, executed youths and massacred Kurdish villagers, slaughtered the Arabs of Khuzestan, killed and incarcerated members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) all across the nation.
Violating human rights then continued with the mass executions of PMOI members and other combatants in the 1980s (sometimes hundreds of people every day) and subsequently with the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. Today, there is a long list of dossiers on political killings for which the mullahs have not been held accountable. They include the chain murders, and the mutilation of Christian priests in the 1990s, and the slaughter of protesters in an uprising in Qazvin in 1993, the murder of Zahra Kazemi in 2003, and the crimes committed in Kahrizak prison in 2009, as well as the murders and massacres carried out in Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force and Khamenei’s proxies in Iraq.
• The number of political executions is estimated to be 120,000. It is impossible, however, to provide any estimates on the number of executions of people convicted of ordinary offenses.
The execution of juvenile offenders is another atrocity the clerical regime continue to commit, for which reason Amnesty International has criticized the regime as “the last executioner of children.”
• The mullahs’ religious dictatorship has deprived the people of Iran of the right to determine their political and national future. Any form of political activity, forming any associations and gatherings, publishing any newspapers and circulating information by outlets not affiliated with the ruling regime are prohibited.
No party could operate unless “it explicitly declares its allegiance to the Constitution and the principle of the absolute rule of the Velayat-e Faqih.”
Opposition to the regime is considered a crime and any contact with the PMOI faces heavy punishment.
The people of Iran are deprived of the right to elect freely. Notorious torturers, members of the death commissions involved in the 1988 massacre, and IRGC commanders become presidents and members of the mullahs’ parliament (Majlis) or the Assembly of Experts.
• The mullahs’ religious tyranny has deprived the people of Iran from the right to enjoy the rule of law, putting in place an absolute totalitarian state instead. Article 57 of the regime’s Constitution has added the word, “absolute” to the “rule of the jurisprudent,” granting unlimited powers and authority to the mullahs’ supreme leader. In practice, all the public powers in Iran emanate from this person. In reality, the arbitrary use of power is a permanent principle in Iran under the mullahs’ rule and various principles of the clerical regime’s Constitution have sanctioned it.
• The ruling theocracy has denied the Iranian people “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Since the onset of its rule, the Iranian regime has harassed, arrested, and purged dissidents and adherents of other religions, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Sunnis, Ahl-e Haq and Gonabadi dervishes, as well as Shiites who have opposed the principle of the Velayat-e Faqih. Inquisition is an institutionalized procedure for employment and educational opportunities. Religious excommunication and charges of apostasy are the important regime tools for suppression.
• The people of Iran are denied “the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals” (article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). No such courts exist in Iran. The courts do not observe due process and act at the whim of religious judges, or torturers and suppressive agents.
Article 167 of the regime’s Constitution subjected the fate and the rights of the accused or the plaintiffs to the personal whims and intentions of judges appointed by the mullahs’ supreme leader. Every judge can make a decision based on his own interpretation of the so-called “credible fatwas” — the alias for Khomeini’s book, Tahrir Al-Vasileh.
Many of defendants do not have lawyers or have to accept court-appointed lawyers who often act against the interests of their clients. In some cases, lawyers are denied access to files of their clients and if they insist, they will be prosecuted and sometimes sentenced to long prison terms.
• The regime’s civil laws are based on gender discrimination.
The regime’s Penal Code – the Islamic Punishment Act – has been drafted entirely based on corporal punishments such as execution, torture and flogging. In addition to stipulating inhumane punishments such as crucifixion, pushing off of cliffs, limb amputation, etc., the Act has specified death penalty for more than 100 offenses and flogging for 50 other offenses.
In the case of political opponents, the regime has invented and implemented 74 forms of torture in its prisons. Raping female prisoners has been ongoing in the regime’s prisons as a systematic method of torture. Denying access to medical treatment causes death by attrition among sick prisoners. Political prisoners are often subjected to this form of punishment.
• The clerical regime has eliminated the Iranian people’s right to have free access to information and freely disseminate their ideas.
Online publications and websites not affiliated with the regime are not allowed to operate. All books are censored. Telephone conversations are monitored. Satellite television broadcasts are systematically jammed. Blogs, websites, emails, and social media activities are under complete surveillance.
The presidential directorate and several other institutions are involved in filtering websites and controlling social media activities.
• While Iran is a multi-ethnic country, the clerical regime has deprived Iran’s national minorities, including the Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Turkmens, Baluchis, Ghasghaiis, Lors and Bakhtiaris of equal rights, welfare, medical treatment, education, urban and rural services, suitable housing, and communicating in their mother tongue.
• Iran’s women are deprived of equal rights in all political, economic, educational, judicial and family arenas. They are prohibited from assuming professions such as judgeship, studying in dozens of educational fields in college, entering sports stadiums to watch the games, and activities in some athletic fields.
The regime actively and ceaselessly controls and humiliates women particularly under the pretext of improper veiling. Twenty-seven government agencies monitor women’s compulsory veiling. State-backed gangs target women in acid attacks.
• Violations of human rights of the people of Iran intended to consolidate the mullahs’ repressive rule are also accompanied by flagrant violations of property right. This is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Article 17.
Confiscating houses and all properties of political opponents; gouging public lands, pastures, forests and mountains; seizing a large number of houses, pieces of Real Estate and properties by the “Setad Ejraii” (Executive Headquarter) of the mullahs’ supreme leader (often without any reason or pretext); and looting most of the public profit-making companies and institutes are but some examples of the clerical regime’s flagrant violations of property rights in Iran. This has enabled Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to control more than half of the country’s Gross National Product.
• Under the mullahs’ rule, the people of Iran are deprived of the right to form independent blue and white-collar workers’ syndicates and trade unions, and independent student associations.
• The Iranian people are deprived of the right to know of the names of their children who were massacred in 1988, or in the executions that took place in the 1980s. They are deprived of knowing where their mass graves are.
Since the 1988 massacre, whenever the families have discovered any trace of the mass graves, the clerical regime has either desecrated or covered them by concrete, or constructed buildings over them.