Ahad Shaheed

Exclusive Video Interview With Ahmad Shaheed

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Source: Dorr TV

Watch full video here: https://goo.gl/ixegE7

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IOPHRI – In the recent days the number of execution and hanging has increased more in Iran, Yesterday 10 people were hanged in Karaj prison, one of them was a school teacher. None of those have had opportunity to have a fair trial.

Dr Mohammad Ali Taheri, who all his activities and teachings was legally authorised by the government has been sentence to death without any trial. Mr Taheri has said that he has never had a right to defend himself or have a lawyer and only recently he was allowed to have a lawyer. This means the judiciary system of Iran have decided to execute Mr Taheri without any trial and this is the current situation of the judiciary system of Iran.

Q1) Would you please give your assessment as a United Nations Special Reapporteure in Iran regarding the procedure of the judiciary system of Iran which issue death sentence without any trial.

Dr Shahid: Thank you very much, this is actually a very serious issue, I have repeatedly raised in my reports my very serious concerns about the use of death penalty in Iran, both in the absolute numbers of people who face death sentences and the range of offenses for which people are given death sentences, along with the issue you highlighted of unfair trials or trails not reaching the very basic standards of the due process rights. This is a concern that is continuing and in recent times I have noticed there’s been a sharp rise in the number of executions and the background I just refered to is therefore of serious concern.
Dr Taheri’s case is a case-in-point where there have been allogations of serious deficits in fair trial standards. The targets have been very vague and therefore not meeting the required standards of International law, and the alleged offenses do not warrent on international law death penalty. So there are a number of International law violations that are allegedly occuring around the case of Dr Taheri.

Q2) what action can the United Nation Human Rights Council can take to save the life of political and religious prisoners who have not committed any crime and who are only in prison because of their belief and the way of their thinking

Dr Shahid: The UN is a body of member states, the HR Council therefore is also a body of members states, but it does have a protective function in regard to Human rights, therefore what the UN can do is raise awareness Internationally about the issues at hand, and in this particular case appeal to the govt of Iran to meet its International obligations. Iran is party to basic Human Rights conventions on International law, ISSFBI (?) is an example, and there are a number of alleged violations of that treaty which are occuring in the case of a number of trials, including this particular case. So the UN can write to the Govt of Iran expressing serious concern about the alleged violations of its International Law obligations and also speak to other members of the HR Council in debates on this subject to express there concern on this matter also, and to find ways for the Govt of Iran to explain itself and also to address the issues that have been raised in a very prompt and appropriate manner.

Q3) The judiciary system of Iran instead of changing their behaviour based on the International convention on Human Right Treaty , they accuse you same as others and they make propaganda against you and your Reports and they say your report is only based on the opinion of the opposition of Iranian government. When clear that your report is based on facts and numbers which is actually published by their own newspapers and media inside of Iran.
So my question is how the United Nation Human Rights Council can make the judiciary system of Iran to implement their commitment to the international convention which it have signed ?

Dr Shahid: As you know the Universal Periodic review brings all countries of the HR Council ** that they are asked to explain their conduct and then take recommendations from states and to come back with what they have done with them, and Iran has had two such reviews, the last one being conducted late last year. Now, in every case it’s up to the country concerned to implement its own promises. Iran has made a number of pledges to implement rule of law in the country, to obide by its obligations, in fact Irans own constitution requires it to apply rule of law and fair trial standards. Now when a country keeps on violating the basic rights of its people then the level of concern within the counil will increase and if this continues to be the case then of course there will be greater scrutiny by the HR Counil of what is happening within the country, and it is through that use of persuasion and exposure and awareness-creation that the council hopes that countries like Iran will begin to abide by their obligations with regard to establishing fair trial standards. You referred in the question to what the govt says about my reports and you rightly said that my reports are based on fact. As a case-in-point, Dr Taheris’ case, what we are saying is that a charge like Blasphemy or Corruption on Earth is very vague and it doesn’t meet the required threshold for capital offense / punishment in International law. This doesn’t require a statement or a view by Irans opposition, its clear as black and white in regards to Irans constitution, Irans laws and how they square up with International Human Rights standards.

Q4)If they don’t agree to act based on the Human Right Treaty and the international convention what will be the action of United Nation Human Rights Council? What kind of sanction they will get?

Dr Shahid: There are many options that the HR Council has with regards to countries that keep on violating HR, it is not up to me to suggest or speculate what those actions might be, but clearly the HR Council has a mandate to protect HR, to advance HR promotion and therefore a number of tools are at it’s disposal to try and persuade countries to do more than they are doing right now to protect HR of the people. So once again because the Council is a body of UN member states they tend to give states a lot of time to do this but you will see that in the behaviour of the council in the past that there are certain tools they can use to put more pressure on a country to abide by its HR obligations.

Q5) what is your suggestion to save Dr Taheri life and other political and religious prisoners in Iran.

Dr Shahid: I think Iran responds to pressure, you will see in the past for example that when the HR Council took up specific issues, that Iran did relent on some of those specific cases. So there is, I think, potential for Iran to look into this case of Dr Taheri and see how they can review the case, address the issue in ways that respects HR obligations of the Country. So I think the answer here is more scrutiny, more international awareness on the subject and more countries, especially now Iran is opening up more for International engagement, engaging with Iran on HR issues

Q6) what is your reaction regarding to the fabrication and the forged documents made up to say wikileaks has reported
to show you have received bribes from Saudi Arabia in order to make a report.

Dr Shahid: Well Wiki-leaks responded very quickly to that charge asking if whoever was running this story could link that to any mail or document that was put up there by wiki-leaks, and there wasn’t. So that was very quickly cleared up. What concerns me is that there are people in Iran who think that propaganda is more important than addressing HR issues, and that is distressing, I think its high time people realised that you cant fool all the people all the time and that if there are issues to be addressed at home, they must be addressed rather than find propaganda tools to undermine those who speak about those issues.

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