UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Ambeyi Ligabo and Head of Tehran province Justice Department Abbas-Ali Alizadeh in a meeting n Sunday discussed issues pertaining to freedom of expression, IRNA reported from Tehran.
At the meeting, Ligabo said that given Iran's stance, the Iranian sayings on practicing justice and respecting the rights could be very effective.
Ligabo then asked Alizadeh to respond to his questions such as, "Why some files in Iran are passed on to 'special courts'?" "In my talks with a number of individuals both from the state and private sectors in recent days, I was informed of the harsh and unjust rulings issued by some tribunals.
"Given that justice aims to reform rather than harm, is there any justification for the sentence issued for some individuals and the crimes of which they have been accused," he asked.
The UN special envoy raised a question on whether there are any files on freedom of expression and thought which have been suspended by Iranian courts for a long time.
"Doesn't delay in meting out justice mean its negation," he asked. In response to questions by the UN envoy, Alizadeh said that given the special significance of justice in Iran, the point has been underlined in various articles of the Constitution.
Turning to passing on some of the files to special tribunals, he said that according to the classification of courts in Iran, all tribunals including the ones dealing with clergies, press, children, etc. are under the supervision of the Justice Department.
"Such domestic classifications are common throughout the world, since allocation of special courts to specific crimes marks the importance of those cases. "Given the crucial significance of the press cases, they are first examined by judges who are investigators in view of their being more independent than others," he added.
The judiciary official noted that in the court, in addition to the jury, three experienced judges examine the press case.
"Once the verdict is issued, the accused is entitled to object to the Supreme Court and despite its being final, there is still the chance to object once more," he added.
He pointed to the Armed Forces Judiciary as the only private tribunal in Iran acting within the framework of the Justice Department.
Concerning some of the suspended cases on freedom of expression and the delay in processing them, he said that this has to do with some obstacles specified in the law and that judges are not authorized to do anything about such cases.
"If a judge delays the execution of an issued verdict, this would be taken as the violation of justice and the judge will be prosecuted," he added.
Alizadeh called on Ligabo to follow up the complaint filed by Tehran Public Prosecutor against those who openly attempted to interfere with Iran's internal affairs in early summer 2003 and incited the public and dissidents to riot and destruction.
Expressing interest in continued dialogue between Iran's Judiciary and the UN, Ligabo called for reprocessing of some of the press files. Meanwhile, Ligabo also met the Secretary of the High Council for Judicial Development, Ali-Reza Jamshidi.
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