Shirin Ebadi Criticizes Violations of Prisoners’ Rights
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, lawyer, head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi harshly criticized the limitations imposed on Iranian political prisoners. She emphasized the lack of allowing prisoners furlough or in-person visits with their families, and stated that according to Iranian law, the Prosecutor, Head Warden, or any other judicial official is not authorized to arbitrarily deprive a prisoner of his or her legal rights. “Those who are in prison because of their conscience or beliefs lack even those rights extended to smugglers,” said Ebadi.
Ebadi cited several instances where political prisoners, such as journalists Bahman Ahmadi Amouee and Issa Saharkhiz, have been deprived of furlough and in-person visits with their families.
“Several political prisoners are ill and need treatment and medical care, but because they are not willing to succumb to the demands of their intelligence interrogators or to provide confessions against themselves and appear on television to announce their belief in the Islamic Republic, they are deprived of their rights,” said Ebadi.
“Unfortunately, the number of people who have fallen victim to the blind wrath of intelligence interrogators and have been treated unkindly by the Prosecutor is not small. In fact, it must be said that the rights of a prisoner is a toy in the hands of security forces and nobody inside the Judiciary cares. This is why not too long ago, the families of several political prisoners boycotted the Prosecutor and the Judiciary and said they no longer hold any hopes about the judicial system and have no more requests from it. I believe painful as this is, Iranian political prisoners and the nation must know that in Mr. Larijani’s justice shop, there is no trace of justice. Don’t look for justice there and don’t expect anything of them. In order to grant a prisoner his legal rights, they try to crush his character.”
“The Prosecutor, or Chief Warden, or any other judicial authority, cannot deprive a prisoner from his legal rights based on the authority’s personal taste and preference,” said Ebadi. “Having in-person visits under conditions stipulated in the law is a prisoner’s right. But we can see that this right is denied to some like Mr. Bahman Ahmadi Amouee. The reason for this may be that he has [committed] compounded crimes! Not only is he an honest journalist, his wife is also a truthful journalist and this is not something a regime whose Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance believes ‘Not knowing is people’s right,’ would appreciate!”