Judiciary’s High Speed: Five “Muharebeh” Verdicts in Two Weeks
Tehran’s Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday that the files of five suspects arrested on Ashura on charges of muharebeh have been completed and forwarded to Iran’s Revolutionary courts. According to this announcement, a branch of the Revolutionary Courts will soon convene to hold trials at which the suspects’ attorneys and district attorneys will be present.
According to the General and Revolutionary Courts announcement, the suspects’ indictments were issued after their arrests during the Ashura riots and upon receiving the arresting officers’ reports, completed investigations, and explicit confessions from the suspects.During the days after Ashura protests, several government, military, and religious authorities demanded the Judiciary’s severe handling of the protesters. For example, 30 Parliament Members presented a bill to reduce the time between death sentences and executions from 20 days to 5 days.
Many legal experts considered this a direct interference of the legislative branch into the judiciary’s affairs, putting pressure on judges to issue maximum sentence verdicts in the cases of arrested protesters in order to intimidate other protesters. The Prosecutor’s Office has refused to provide information about what documents in the suspects’ files support such a verdict and have withheld their names.
Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran General and Revolutionary Courts Prosecutor had previously announced that the Judiciary would deal with the “criminals” according to law. It is not clear how the judiciary’s ordinarily slow speed during investigations and handling of political cases prior to these trials has suddenly increased to the point where in under two weeks, all investigation and indictment work has been completed. The extent to which the suspects were able to confer with their lawyers is also unknown, or their detention conditions since their arrest. Previously, four other suspects who had been arrested during post-elections protests were sentenced to death and their sentences are currently either in appeals stage or awaiting verdict by Superior Court.
What is “Moharebeh”?
“It literally means “fighting” in classical Arabic. Moharebeh is the term used in Iran’s Sharia law to describe a major crime committed against Islam and the state. It carries a punishment ranging from imprisonment to death.”