International Campaign for Human Rights
Top Lawyer Says Charges Inconsistent with
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
today strongly condemned the prosecution of a young student activist, Mohammad
Amin Valian, under the charge of Moharebeh, or "enmity against God,"
which is punishable by death and called the charges "grossly disproportionate."
At least nine other protestors have been
sentenced to death in similar unfair trials and are at risk of imminent
execution. Five other protestors, including Valian, were prosecuted last week
and face the death penalty if convicted. The main pieces of evidence used to
convict the twenty-year old student are photographs showing him throwing rocks
during Ashura protests.
The conviction of Valian, a student from Damaghan
Science University, followed his denunciation in a student newspaper run by
pro-government Basiji militias and subsequent arrest. Valian was also
convicted of "corruption on earth," "congregation and mutiny to commit crimes
against national security," "propagation activities against the Islamic regime,"
and "insulting top regime officials."
"The Judiciary, by this grossly disproportionate
sentence, devalues the life of a promising young student," stated Aaron Rhodes,
a spokesperson for the Campaign.
"What is more, the conviction lowers the
standards of the system, which, like any system of law, should protect life, not
cheapen it," he said.
Valian is one of sixteen protesters who have been
subjected to a
"show trial" for their peaceful political protests, and one of the five
convicted of a crime carrying the death penalty.
During his trial, Valian confessed openly to
throwing stones on three occasions during the protests, noting that they hit
nothing, and asked the court to consider the reasons why he had thus expressed
his feelings and frustrations. He also freely admitted to chanting "Death to the
A prominent human rights lawyer in Tehran,
Abdolfattah Soltani, told the Campaign that according to Sharia law,
the essential condition for applying the charge of Moharebeh to someone
is the certainty that the defendant has engaged in armed activity.
"This has been clearly stated in all texts of
Fiqh (religious jurisprudence). In articles 86 and 89 of the Islamic Penal
Code, several conditions have been elaborated upon and in particular these
articles clearly state, that if a group has been formed that engages in armed
struggle, and if a person who is a member of such a group or associates with it
promotes its goals through armed activity, then that is considered Moharebeh.
Therefore, the condition of armed activity is essential in charging someone
under Moharebeh and the person must have carried out effective actions.
If these conditions are not present then the charge of Moharebeh cannot
be applied," he said.
Asked about the act of throwing stones in the
street and if such activity can legitimately result in a charge of Moharebeh,
Soltani said: "Absolutely not. If a person is arrested because of association
with an armed group then Moharebeh may apply. But if an ordinary
person, for whatever reason, such as anger or losing his temper, throws a stone,
aimed at the destruction of some property or hurting someone, then there are
other legal charges applicable and such actions do not rise to the charge of
Peers of Valian told the Campaign that
he was one of the most active members of the Central Council of the Islamic
Student Association. He had organized a number of political debates, which
were also cited as evidence of the crimes for which he was convicted. Valian has
been an active supporter of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
The Campaign called on the Head of the
Iranian Judiciary to intervene in the case, and urged that Valian be released
immediately pending an examination of his case by an independent committee of
legal experts, which should look into all cases of those charged on the basis of
their political protests.
... Payvand News - 02/09/10 ... --