Sunday, May 25, 2008

Speaker Adel’s Behavior is Unfortunate

Judiciary’s Response to Majlis’ Report:
Two days ago as a Majlis’ investigative report over the work of the judiciary was read out objections were raised over its reading by members of Iran’s parliament and those of the judiciary. On the other hand, this event resulted in the judiciary’s decision to confront corruption starting with the Majlis itself. As a result, one of the MPs who had an ethics scandal legal suit in the courts was summoned to the court, interrogated and subsequently arrested.

According to a reporter of Asr-e Iran website who was present at the court hearing, the MP, who was under interrogation from 12pm (on Tuesday) was confronted with numerous women who had been summoned to the hearing in which they testified against the legislator, claiming violations, trespass etc. After several hours of interrogations, the MP was driven off to the notorious Evin prison in northern Tehran. Asre-Iran did not name the MP, but there had been reports in the past that this seventh Majlis deputy had been under investigation for “ethical corruption” and “harassment” issues.

Farda news website too mentioned this measure by the judiciary to be “most rapid response” and added, “The Tehran court launched the most rapid response to demands for an unqualified confrontation with those involved in ethical violations and began its work by from the Majlis deputies.”

The investigative report over the judiciary was eventually read on the floor of the Majlis after a lapse of 3.5 years and contained a list of complaints.

The report touched on issues such as stoning, judges who lack legal training, judicial receipt of bribes, erroneous judgments leading to loss of life and property, financial ethical violations by judges, the lengthening of the dockets, and, bribes and embezzlement over some large bails, some of which were eventually dropped off from its final version. But still, the judiciary announced its objections to the reading of the report on the Majlis floor.

Another website, Tabnak which is close to former Passdaran revolutionary guards commander and current secretary of the State Expediency Council Mohsen Rezai called the report “a list of obsolete cases”. Tabnak made the claim that “while unofficial reports had spoken of important and vital information in the large legal suits in the original Majlis report, the final published version primarily reported what had already been covered by the media in the past and lacked any new details or judgments.

Opposing MPs left the Majlis FloorCommotion followed when the Majlis did not accept calls by MPs to summon the minister of commerce. In that session, there were no scheduled bills to be reviewed, representative Saeed Abutalebi from Tehran was busy working on his film about Majlis deputies, so as Majlis’ report on ethical corruption the judiciary was read out, “the Majlis’ order broke up and deputies were seen freely walking in and out of the session while some clearly left the Majlis altogether in protest when the report on the judiciary began to be read.”

Majlis representative Dehgan who is also a member of the investigative committee that prepared the report read out the report which said “None of the 300 questions raised by the investigative committee were replied to by the judiciary”. He further said that “in 11 provinces of Iran, 1271 drug traffickers never returned to prison while they were on their temporary leaves during their detention. Some of these convicts had been sentenced to life terms and many engaged in drug trafficking activities after their escape.”

Official Response from JudiciaryAs the report was being read out, the head of Iran’s judiciary was visiting Kurdistan but still said this about the Majlis report: “The judiciary has many achievements in all fields.” Furthermore, judiciary spokesperson Jamshidi criticized Majlis speaker Haddad Adel on “insisting on reading the report” and called it a “sad event for the seventh Majlis”. He said the report had been based on “erroneous information and research founded on rumors and hearsay” and called it “beneath the stature of the Majlis”. Jamshidi further said. “The report was met by protests from a large group of Majlis deputies and the head and members of Majlis’ judiciary committee were against the public reading of the report because it had not been prepared according to legal rules, which is probably the best indicator of the righteousness of the judiciary” Jamshidi claimed. He further revealed that the report had never been officially put on the agenda of the Majlis. “For a report to be read out at the floor, half of the Majlis deputies must be present and the time allotted to the report had been exhausted. MPs unfortunately did not observe these breaches. Unfortunately, what we witnessed today was a hastily read out report which contained contextual and formal errors.”

He concluded his remarks by airing his complaints at the leadership of the Majlis, “Our other complaint is over the Speaker who leaves behind an unpleasant record of pursuing citizen’s rights in the seventh Majlis.” Referring to Majlis speaker’s comments that the reading of the report was for the authority and glory of the Majlis, Jamshidi said, “IT is unfortunate that Haddad Adel who possesses high stature, beliefs in God and righteousness should have insisted on reading out the report, and we consider this act to be below the dignity of the Majlis and the person of Haddad Adel.”

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