Iran Human Rights: Iran should stop incitement to violence and politicized prosecutions

Iran Human Rights: Iran should stop incitement to violence and politicized prosecutions

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 17 /Trend T.Konyayeva/

A demand by 180 members of the Iranian Parliament to try and execute opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi for "corruption on earth" disgraces Iran's legislative and judicial branches of government both, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said in his official statement.

"For members of the Parliament to demand that anyone be executed for calling for a peaceful demonstration reveals a lynch mob mentality on the part of individuals elected to guard the rights of citizens," the statement cited spokesperson for the Campaign Hadi Ghaemi.

Last week, opposition leaders Karroubi and Moussavi applied to the Interior Ministry for a permit to hold a rally on 14 February to express solidarity with pro-democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt. The Ministry denied the permits, but hundreds of thousands of Iranians participated in peaceful demonstrations that were met with violence by security forces and plainclothes agents. Authorities have held Karroubi and Moussavi under house arrest for days and neither politician was able to leave their homes to join demonstrators.

On 15 February, a day after the demonstrations, hard-line members of parliament chanted, "Karroubi and Moussavi must be executed as corruptors on earth" on the floor of Parliament.

"We fear that these lawmakers are inciting potential violence against Karroubi, Khatami, and Moussavi," Ghaemi said in the statement.

Under Article 183 of the Islamic Penal Code, "Whoever resorts to arms to cause terror, fear or to violate public security and liberty will be considered as a mohareb and be corrupt on earth." Armed activity is an essential element of legally charging someone with moharebeh and corruption on earth.

Islamic Penal Code Article 184 sanctions acts of violence against those who are "corruptors on earth."

According to the statement, since the June 2009 presidential election, prosecutors have used this charge to indict a number of government critics, including opposition activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and protestors. These mohareb and corruption on earth prosecutions have consistently failed to meet the requirements of Iranian law, as well as international standards, as the laws have been applied in an arbitrary manner, elevating throwing a rock or membership in an opposition organization to acts of terrorism. Moreover, many of these convictions have been based on allegedly coerced testimonies.

"All Karroubi and Moussavi have done is call on Iranian citizens to exercise their legal right to peaceful free expression, and prosecuting them would be just another attempt at criminalizing criticism of the government," said Ghaemi. "This would be a grave breach of Iran's human rights obligation to respect the freedoms of expression and assembly, and even the right to life."

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