Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

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Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Chief Justice of Iran
In office
30 June 1999 – 30 June 2009
Appointed by Ali Khamenei
Preceded by Mohammad Yazdi
Succeeded by Sadeq Larijani
Personal details
Born 1948 (age 65–66)
Najaf, Iraq
Nationality Iranian
Political party Independent
Religion Twelver Shia Islam

Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi ( محمود هاشمی شاهرودی) (born 1948, Najaf, Iraq)[1] is a moderate[2] Iraqi-Iranian politician and Shia Marja.[3][4][5] Hashemi Shahroudi was the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which has caused objections to his serving as the Head of Iran's Judiciary from 1999-2009. He is currently a member of Iran's Guardian Council.

Upon accepting his position as the Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Shahroudi proclaimed: "I have inherited an utter ruin from the previous judiciary [referring to Mohammad Yazdi's 10 years in office]."[6][7] He appointed Saeed Mortazavi, a well known fundamentalist and controversial figure, prosecutor general of Iran. Later when Mortazavi lead the onslaught of the judiciary against Khatami's reform movement, Shahroudi was prevented by regime hardliners from stopping Mortazavi's violent acts against dissidents or removing him from power.[8] In July 2011 Shahroudi was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to head an arbitration body to resolve an ongoing dispute between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the parliament.[9]

Prosecution of parliament members[edit]

In 2001, the judiciary prosecuted several reformist members of parliament for speeches and activities they had carried out in their capacity as MPs. The Iranian constitution grants immunity to members of parliament during their tenure, and the courts have no right to put MPs on trial for speeches given in parliament. The incident led to a major conflict between Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and Chief of Judiciary Hashemi Shahroudi. In a letter, Khatami protested the courts' prosecution of MPs, insisting the act contravened the political immunity which the Iranian Constitution has provided for the deputies. The notice prompted Hashemi Shahroudi to respond, calling Khatami's letter "a surprise." "Since judges, according to the Constitution and ordinary laws as well as the jurisprudential principles, are independent in their interpretation of the law and issuing verdicts, nobody -- not even the judiciary chief -- has the right to impose its interpretation of the law on judges," Shahroudi said in part of his letter to President Khatami.[10] Shahroudi denounced reformist MPs, stating they weakened parliament by defending "westernized" journalists and other liberals.[11] While the Iranian constitution does state in Art. 167 that judges need to adjudicate on the basis of Islamic sources in cases where no codified law exists, this was clearly not the case with regard to immunity of standing members of parliament. Shahroudi's commentary must be interpreted as being politically motivated, and is symptomatic of his failure to strengthen the rule of law during his tenure.

Decriminalization Bill[edit]

The decriminalization bill (in Persian: تعيين مجازات‌های جايگزين) refers to a legal bill submitted by the Iranian Judiciary to the parliament. It aims at substituting imprisonment and execution by educational workshops and social penalties. The bill is considered one of the most important legal bills prepared by the Iranian judiciary during Shahroudi's tenure.

According to the bill, for all minor crimes, whose punishment is less than six months of imprisonment, imprisonment will be substituted with social penalties. This category of crimes include crimes related to traffic, environmental, medical, family, cultural and hunting offenses. The bill also demands that criminals undergo an educational or skill training course convened by the judiciary system.[12][13]

The bills also addresses the crimes conducted by minors in the three age categories 7-12, 12-15 and 15–18 years old. It is reminiscent to the Iranian criminal law of 1925. According to the bill, minors can no longer be executed. The bill is based on several years of continuous discussion with religious scholars at the seminaries.[14][15]

According to the bill, the crimes conducted by children of 7–12 years old is not punishable. For the age categories 12-15 and 15-18, imprisonment is replaced by mandatory training and education programs. For the age category of 15-18, execution is applied for crimes like murders if and only if the judge is confident that the criminals are mentally developed as adults and the crime is conducted intentionally and with a well-thought-out-plan. However, both teenagers and young adults (older than 18) with low mental development, cannot be sentenced to death.[16]

In 2009, the bill was approved by the judiciary commission of the Iranian parliament. The bill will be ratified after the approval of the parliament and the guardian council.

Shahroudi is most notable in the West for instituting Iran's 2002 moratorium on stoning as a form of capital punishment. The penalty remains on the books however, leaving open the possibility that the moratorium could again be overturned as it was in 2006 and 2007.[17][18][19][20]

2009 Bill on Iran's Bar Association[edit]

In 2009, Shahroudi offered a bill to the Iranian parliament that targets the independence of Iran's Bar Association.[21][22] According to this bill, lawyers will be watched by the Iranian ministry of Intelligence and their credentials depend on the approval of the intelligence service.

Restriction of media[edit]

In 2009, Shahroudi issued an order to restrict people's access to Iranian Satellite TV Channels and to prosecute staff of Satellite TV Channels whose opinion is not in line with that of the Islamic Republic.[23] People who support these channels and internet users who act not according to the line of the constitution, can be punished with up to five years of imprisonment.

Arbitration[edit]

In July 2011, Shahroudi was appointed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to head an arbitration body to resolve an ongoing dispute between president Ahmadinejad and parliament. The five-member body Shahroudi heads is made up of "hard-liners known for their opposition to any reforms within the ruling system", according to the Associated Press news agency.[9] The appointment was seen as a move to sideline or weaken former President Hashemi Rafsanjani who heads the Expediency Council, a body set up to arbitrate disputes within the ruling system in the Islamic Republic.[9] Rafsanjani had alienated Khamenei and the Islamic establishment with "his tacit support" for opposition to the controversial June 2009 presidential elections results that re-elected president Ahmadinejad.[9]

Criticism[edit]

Shahroudi has received criticism from a number of Iranian scholars and lawyers. Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, a well known Iranian scholar and expert on Islamic law, wrote a letter of criticism in August 2009.[24][25][26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ayatullah Haj Sayyid Mahmoud Hashimi Shahroudi page on Al-Shia.org
  2. ^ Hardliners delay Khatami's inauguration The Independent
  3. ^ اعلام مرجعیت آیت الله هاشمی شاهرودی Farda News
  4. ^ هاشمی شاهرودی اعلام مرجعیت کرد Aftab News
  5. ^ ورود رسمی آیت الله هاشمی شاهرودی به جرگه مرجعیت
  6. ^ "Shahroudi says Iran's Judiciary in need of reform". Payvand. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Letter". Savedelara. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=41147
  9. ^ a b c d Iran's top leader names mediator in power struggle By Ali Akbar Dareini|Associated Press|25 July 2011
  10. ^ "Parliament speaker reiterates Khatami's constitutional rights". Payvand.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  11. ^ "Reformist Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organization rues Shahroudi's response to majlis". Netnative.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "وکالت - لایحه مجازات های اجتماعی جایگزین زندان". Vekalat1.mihanblog.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  14. ^ Copyright: gooya.com 2010. "gooya news :: politics : جمشيدی: صابری در سلامت کامل است، مطبوعات باعث اعدام دل‌آرا دارابی شدند، رويه جديد قوه قضائيه در جلوگيری از اعدام کودکان، ايلنا". News.gooya.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  15. ^ "de beste bron van informatie over iran street children. Deze website is te koop!". Iranstreetchildren.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  16. ^ "خبرنامه امیرکبیر-پایگاه خبری تحلیلی دانشجویان دانشگاه صنعتی امیرکبیر » آرشیو » مصاديق جرم سياسي در لايحه جديد تعزيرات". Autnews.ws. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  17. ^ "IRAN: Stoning: a return to barbarity". FIACAT - Federation International, Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  18. ^ Public Statement MDE 13/083/2007 (2007-07-09). "Iran: Amnesty International outraged at reported stoning to death and fears for victim's co-accused". Amnesty international. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  19. ^ Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner (2007-07-13). "Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on the stoning to death of Mr Jafar Kiani". European Commission. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  20. ^ The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (2007-07-11). "Canada Condemns Execution by Stoning of Jafar Kiani in Iran". Government of Canada. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  21. ^ "Iranian Bar Associations". Iranbar. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  22. ^ "Iranian Bar Associations". Iranbar. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  23. ^ BaniComm Co. "ISNA - 07-05-2009 - 88/4/14 - سرويس: / فقه و حقوق - حقوق سياسي / شماره خبر: 1366015". Isna.ir. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  24. ^ "آفتاب - محقق‌داماد خطاب به شاهرودی: کاش در حوزه مانده بودید". Aftab News. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "Iran is self-destructing". Weekly Ahram. 19 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  26. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3105

External links[edit]

Quotations related to Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi at Wikiquote

Legal offices
Preceded by
Mohammad Yazdi
Head of judiciary of Islamic Republic of Iran
1999-2009
Succeeded by
Sadeq Larijani