Hardliners are in Power at the Judiciary

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Abdol-Fattah Soltani is an Iranian human rights attorney and co-founder of the recently ‎shut Center for the Defenders of Human Rights. Rooz spoke with him about the closure ‎and related issues. “Power in the judiciary is in the hands of the hardliners,” he believes. ‎Here are the details.‎soltani868

Rooz (R): Was the closure of the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights legal?‎

Abdol-Fattah Soltani (AFS): The Law of Parties provides that if the Ministry of Interior ‎decides to close an organization it must do it through a court order, and that the ‎prosecutor has no right to intervene in such a matter. Even if we assume that the Ministry ‎of Interior makes such a request from a public prosecutor, this right has not been defined ‎in law for the prosecutor. Secondly, this order was issued verbally through a phone call, ‎so consequently two violations took place.‎

R: Is there currently an organization that is active without an operational permit?‎

AFS: Many organizations and groups on the right that are active today lack operational ‎permits. For example, Jame Rohaniyat Mobarez (Association for Militant Clergy), Jame ‎Modaresin Hoze Elmie Qom (Teacher of the Qom Theological Center), Abadgaran, and a ‎group known as Rayehe Khosh Khedmat (supporter of Ahmadinejad’s administration) ‎are active without any permit. Can we have two different standards in this regard in this ‎country? If working without a permit is illegal, then why do then not stop the work of ‎these groups? IN any case, there are two types of parties and groups in Iran: Those with a ‎permit and those without. And both of them have the right to operate.‎

R: If that is the case then what legal grounds were used to shut the Center?‎

AFS: This is what has to be asked of the ministry of interior. Of course it was during Mr. ‎Khatami’s administration that a permit was not issued in this regard. Perhaps there was a ‎pressure on them not to issue it. We believe our rights have been violated. Regarding why ‎they closed the Center, I must say that there is a hardline group in the judiciary that is ‎small but powerful which acts unlawfully. They confront any group that they dislike. I ‎am example of this. I was in prison for 7 months and 9 days. Then I was acquitted, but I ‎still remain on the exit ban list. I would like to ask senior members of the state to stop this ‎group from its violations. Why are they not confronted? I remain on the exit ban list ‎despite 4 counts of acquittals. What is the law through which they have banned me from ‎leaving the country?‎

R: If the group is small, how come it can do whatever it wishes?‎

AFS: Members of this group exist only in some parts of the judiciary. We believe that ‎there are some very qualified and outstanding judges in this very judiciary who are not ‎posted in important positions. Key posts are occupied by hardliners who do not observe ‎the law. I can loudly say that Mr. Shahrudi (head of Iran’s judiciary) is either incapable of ‎dealing with this group or is ignorant of their activities. In any case, during the 9 years in ‎which he has held this leadership position he has not dealt with this small rogue group ‎that acts unlawfully.‎

R: My last question is about the work of the Center. Since its offices are shut, is the work ‎continuing?‎

AFS: As I said, no court in the country has as of today issued a judgment for the ‎dissolution of the Center. So the Center remains a legal organization that continues its ‎work in the same fashion as before.‎

Source: http://www.roozonline.com/english/archives/2009/01/hardliners_are_in_power_at_the.html

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