VII. Recommendations

The government of Iran should:

Arbitrary Arrests and Treatment in Detention

  • Release all individuals currently deprived of their liberty for peacefully exercising their rights to free expression, association, and assembly;

  • Ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty receive family visits, and inform families about the location and status of their family members in detention;

  • Abolish the use of prolonged solitary confinement;

  • Investigate and respond promptly to all complaints of torture and ill-treatment;

  • Discipline or prosecute as appropriate officials at all levels of the Iranian Information Ministry responsible for the mistreatment of detainees at Evin 209 detention center;

  • Bring Evin 209 under the supervision of the State Prisons and Security Corrective Measures Organization or shut it down.

  • Legal Reform

  • Amend or abolish the vague security laws under the Islamic Penal Code, entitled “Offenses against the National and International Security of the Country” (the “Security Laws”) and other legislation under the Islamic Penal Code that permits the government to arbitrarily suppress and punish individuals for peaceful political expression, in breach of its international legal obligations, on grounds that “national security” is being endangered, including the following provisions:

    o Article 498 of the Security Laws, which criminalizes the establishment of any group that aims to “disrupt national security”;168

    o Article 500, which sets a sentence of three months to one year of imprisonment for anyone found guilty of “in any way advertising against the order of the Islamic Republic of Iran or advertising for the benefit of groups or institutions against the order”;

    o Article 610, which designates “gathering or colluding against the domestic or international security of the nation or commissioning such acts” as a crime punishable from two to five years of imprisonment;169

    o Article 618, which criminalizes “disrupting the order and comfort and calm of the general public or preventing people from work” and allows for a sentence of 3 months to one year, and up to 74 lashes;170

    o Article 513 of the Islamic Penal Code, which criminalizes any “insults” to any of the “Islamic sanctities” or holy figures in Islam and carries a punishment of one to five years, and in some instances may carry a death penalty;

    o Article 514, which criminalizes any “insults” directed at the first Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini or at the current Leader may be sentenced to six months to two years in prison.

  • Define both “national security” and the breaches against it in narrow terms that do not unduly infringe on internationally guaranteed rights of free expression, association and assembly;

  • Excise from the Islamic Penal Code the laws that criminalize “insults” against religious figures and government leaders;

  • Change provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure that allow the right to counsel to be denied in the investigative phase of pre-trial detention. The government should guarantee the right of security detainees to meet in private with legal counsel throughout the period of their detention and trial;

  • Take steps to uphold the Citizens Rights Laws, enacted by head of Judiciary Ayatollah Shahrudi on 2004, in Iran’s detention centers. Unlike other laws with a security caveat, the Citizens Rights Laws are intended to be applicable in all circumstances.

  • The Government of the United States should:

  • Engage with Iranian civil society groups to support projects which they believe will not provide an easy pretext for the Iranian government to repress their activities.

  • 168 Islamic Penal Code, Book Five, State Administered Punishments and Deterrents, Ratified May 9, 1996, art. 498

    169 Islamic Penal Code, Book Five, State Administered Punishments and Deterrents, Ratified May 9, 1996, art. 610.

    170 Islamic Penal Code, Book Five, State Administered Punishments and Deterrents, Ratified May 9, 1996, art. 618.