Iran: Mohammad Mostafaei's letter to world leaders

WLUML allies

In the Name of Almighty. Your Excellency, With Salutations and Greetings, Peace, international and national security, social, economic, judicial and political stability and the privileges of a peaceful life, and even more importantly equality, fraternity and avoidance of violence, tyranny and oppression and other unjust discriminations can only become possible in the third millennium and come to a desirable conclusion worthy of proper human dignity, only if all the world leaders show determination and take steps in preserving human rights and human dignity and convince  the countries which abuse human rights to safeguard the inherent human dignity and grace.

As Mr. Ahmadinejad's trip to New York and his speech at the United Nations approaches, it is expected that, as with the past precedents, he denounces other states as human rights abusers and present his own state as the 'axis of justice'. It is therefore necessary and imperative for me to bring to your attention just some of the current human rights situation within the Islamic Republic:

The Islamic Republic in the last three decades of its rule, has not only not been committed to the basic principles of human rights and international law, including the United Nations charter, International agreements on civil, political, economical and social rights as well as the Convention on Children's Rights but has also disregarded the very human rights laws and principles that has been passed by its legislative body, the Islamic Consultative Assembly and has forced a non-clement interpretation of Islam which has exploited and abused the rights of millions of Iranians.

You are well versed that the basis of liberty and peace in the world, is the acknowledgment of the equal rights of all of human beings which stems from the very inherent dignity of every human being.

Ever since the inception of the Islamic Republic however, its rulers have implemented their own personal preferences in the name of adherence to Islam, without consideration for justice, impartiality, conscience and morality. Thousands of people in political opposition have been arbitrarily massacred during the eighties and the nineties after the Islamic revolution and their families made to mourn these victims. 

Ayatolah Montazeri, the designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini at the time, confirmed these massacres in a taped interview and there are many indisputable documents that corroborate these massacres. The Khavaran cemetery is the mass grave of many of those executed during these massacres.

In the Islamic Republic, capital punishment is used and recognized by the establishment as a means to hold on to political power. Many of those sentenced to execution have simply been victims of these political decisions and been executed purely for political reasons. 

Many of the execution sentences that have been passed by the judiciary, have disregarded the very laws that were passed by the country's legislative body in favour of the accused, and the execution sentences are issued in a completely arbitrarily manner.

The Islamic Republic is one of those countries which have sentenced minors under 18 to execution and carried out these sentences. Every year the judiciary takes away the lives of many of these minors. Children who lack sufficient understanding and resolve and have not reached the intellectual growth of an adult, children who have been denied their right to a lawyer and on many occasions have been made to confess unwillingly under emotional and mental pressures to their alleged crime.

In this regard, I represented forty minors and managed to save eighteen of them from death but the Islamic Republic executed four of my clients.

Stoning, blinding of the eye, amputation of limbs and tongue and other body parts are some of the penal punishments  implemented, which directly opposes human dignity.

In the last three decades, the security forces have dominated the judiciary system and caused hundreds of thousands of Iranians to leave their own country for other parts of the world. They have been forced to leave Iran for reasons of fear of arbitrary arrests, torture, death and other punishments and for the lack of social and economic security as a result of violent and unlawful behaviour by the judiciary system. Many have become refugees and lost their families and have no hope of returning to their homeland with their emotional status deteriorating on a daily basis. They are forced unwillingly into exile as a result of a few powerful ruling elite like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and urgently need international protection.

Islamic Republic officially sanctions the discriminatory laws against women in its penal code and has adopted laws under the name of Islam in favour of men which do not conform to the basic human rights principles and often can be regarded as a crime.

Such legal dominance of men over women encourages a version of slavery. Woman as a symbol of affection, sentiment and self sacrifice does not enjoy the same equal rights. For example the blood money for a woman is half that of a man. Women are entitled to much less inheritance and even lose out in some instances their entire inheritance. 

Women in return for sexual relations with men and working from home are entitled to receive expenses and if they refuse the man's sexual demands are denied these expenses. Women do not have the right to divorce their husbands and this is entirely a man's right. After a breakdown in marriage, women can only have the custody and care of the children until they are seven years old. 

Women's witness statements on their own are not submittable for a court hearing. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, anti-establishment voices are suppressed in the worst possible ways. Religious minorities are restricted in many ways. Many of them like the Bahaiis do not have the right to an education or employment and are denied equal social rights. If they make any objections they are imprisoned to long sentences and their families threatened and harmed. 

The Islamic Republic does not spend its huge income from oil, mining and industry, communications and state television on the welfare of its citizens but for strengthening its military might and in particular its nuclear energy.  The incomes gained from these different sources are injected into the hands of the security forces, the revolutionary guard, Baseej, defence and armed forces. In an effort to strengthening its military forces the government is attempting to bring about the background for implementing its might and power in the national and international stage, bringing about fear and terror. This is at a time when Iran is in a state of mismanagement, with the government increasingly becoming disconnected from children, women without guardians, low income earners, employees and rural families who either have no income or receive minimum wages to make ends meet. 

The question is how can a state that does not pay attention to the basic rights of its own citizens claim to be the champion of bringing peace and justice to the world?

How can a state that abuses its power by harming, torturing and imprisoning social rights workers, journalists, students, political activists, labour activists, women and children and is not afraid to use violent punishments like stoning, arbitrary political and non-political executions and amputation of limbs, talk about bringing peace and justice to the world?

What has been mentioned is just a drop in the ocean of the tyranny and oppression that the Islamic Republic inflicts on its citizens. The Iranian people need support now more than ever. They need boycotts against their human rights abusers, not against the very people who are victims of an incompetent and violent state.

Hence as a lawyer who has witnessed with my own eyes the tyranny and repression against the people of Iran and who has represented hundreds of victims of human rights abuses and has full knowledge of the laws and penal codes of the Islamic Republic, I ask you not to allow Islamic Republic statesmen, in the name of Islam trample the rights of Iran's citizens.

Mohammad Mostafaei,

Iranian Lawyer and Human Rights Activist