Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Iran judiciary bans detention without charges;_ylt=Asc51E_E_p_xY3pQWdbuLS.bOrgF

Wed Feb 6, 5:21 AM ET

The head of the Iranian judiciary has issued a decree prohibiting the detention of suspects without being charged, in his latest move to reform Iran's legal systeh, the press reported on Wednesday.

The announcement comes less than a week after judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi ordered that no public executions would take place in Iran without his prior approval.
The decree, reported by a number of Iranian newspapers including the judiciary mouthpiece Hemayat, said the judicial apparatus should not hold suspects, issue a summons or set bail without pressing charges.

"Refrain from summoning people without pressing charges. Refrain from holding people under arrest without pressing charges. Refrain from pressing bail without setting charges," read the text of decree.

"Refrain from summoning people without sufficient proof," it also ordered.

Western rights groups have repeatedly accused Iran of holding suspects, particularly in national security cases, for prolonged periods without charging them. Tehran has always insisted it follows the proper legal process.

The text said Shahroudi had issued the decree "because of the importance and the necessity of fully abiding by and carrying out the prosecution regulations."

It said, without elaborating, that there had been reports "talking about discrepancies in methods which resulted in time wasting, expense and frustration."

The decree also ordered that warrant forms must be completed accurately and properly.
Shahroudi is a conservative cleric who is hugely respected for his knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). He is not a natural ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and publicly criticised his government last year.

Shahroudi's decree on public executions in January came amid a soaring number of hangings in the Islamic republic, many of which were in public.

Capital punishment "should not be implemented or publicised in a way that would be a psychological disturbance to society, especially the young," judicial spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said at the time.

No public executions are reported to have taken place since then. Sharoudi also banned the publication of images of executions.

In 2002, Shahroudi issued a directive suspending the punishment of stoning.

But in a blow to his authority, local judiciary officials last year authorised a stoning for adultery in the first such sentence to be confirmed and carried out for five years

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