08/18/2009, 00.00
IRAN

Iran's new head of the judiciary says he will prosecute those who torture prisoners

Appointed by the supreme leader, Sadeq Lariani, brother of parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, is considered a close Khamenei ally and a possible conservative alternative to the president. A top revolutionary guard official wants Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi to be put on trial. A cleric calls for Karroubi to be punished with 80 lashes.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – Sadeq Larijani, new head of Iran's judiciary, said he would follow the guidelines laid down by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei against anyone involved in torturing prisoners. Appointed to the post by the supreme leader himself, the new head (pictured here between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad) is the brother of parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, and is considered a close ally of Khamenei and a possible alternative to the Iranian president among conservatives.

His appointment appears to be a move by the supreme leader in his ongoing tug-of-war with President Ahmadinejad to counter the latter’s growing power based in the Pasdaran (revolutionary guards) and the Basij (revolutionary volunteers).

The head of Iran’s judiciary plays an important role in the country’s power structure. This is clearly evinced in recent developments.

On Sunday Yadollah Jvanai, a top Pasdaran official, said he wanted to see pro-reform leaders Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi put on trial for organising a “velvet revolution” against the regime. His call was published in Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, a fact that is significant.

Similarly, a prominent cleric, Ahmad Khatami, called on Monday for opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi to be whipped for failing to prove his claims that some protesters were raped or tortured in Evin and Kahrizak prisons, the latter closed on Khamenei’s orders. Islam prescribes “80 lashes” for such actions, the Kayhan newspaper quoted the cleric as saying.

For his part, during his swearing-in ceremony Sadeq Larijani warned anyone who might be tempted to use violence against prisoners that they would suffer consequences, thus backing somewhat reformist claims.

“Nobody should dare to make a ruling against the law or violate civil rights, and such persons (violators) should be aware that sooner or later they will be brought to justice, and in this important position I will not show leniency toward any of them,” state TV quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile pro-reform leaders are trying to take advantage of the conflict within the conservative camp by claiming that they are the true heirs to the ideals of the Islamic Republic.

Speaking at Sadeq Larijani’s inauguration ceremony, former President Rafsanjani warned against the consequences of "unjust" judicial decisions which could lead society “into chaos.”

Another pro-reform former president, Mohammad Khatami, said that “We are real protectors of the Islamic Republic, not those who showed in recent months that they are uprooting the republic and the Islamic nature of the establishment”. (PD)

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