Cases of Human Rights ViolatiorsFaces of CrimeLatest

Human Rights Violator: Ahmad Jannati

By July 5, 2019 No Comments

Full Name:

Ahmad Jannati

Biography[1]:

Ahmad Jannati was born Ladan, Isfahan around 1926. He graduated from a seminary.

Positions[2]:

  • Judge at Tehran’s courts (Ghezel Ghaleh) during the early months of the 1979 revolution
  • Judge at the Islamic Revolutionary Courts in Khorramshahr, Isfahan and Kermanshah in 1979 and 1980
  • Sharia Judge in Khuzestan between 1979 and 1980
  • Temporary Friday Prayer Imam in Ahwaz from 11 November 1979[3] to spring 1980[4]
  • Member of the Guardian Council from 20 February 1980 until present[5]
  • Temporary Friday Prayer Imam in Qom[6] from 16 September 1981 to about 1992
  • Secretary of the Council for Coordination of Islamic Propaganda[7] from about 1981 until present
  • Temporary Friday Prayer Imam in Kermanshah, most likely during 1982
  • Representative at the Assembly of Experts from 14 July 1983 until present
  • Head of the Islamic Development Organisation[8] from 3 April 1988 to 29 June 2002[9]
  • Member of the Council for the Revision of the Constitution from 24 April 1989 to 28 July 1989
  • Representative of The Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist at the Islamic Association of Students[10] from 15 March 1990 to 1 May 2000[11]
  • Temporary Friday Prayer Imam in Tehran[12] from 3 April 1992 to 11 March 2018
  • Secretary of the Guardian Council[13] from 18 July 1992 until present
  • Head of The Staff for the Revival of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil[14] from about 2003 to 12 March 2018
  • Member of the IRIB Commission
  • Member of the Supreme Council of Foreign Advertisements, as appointed by Seyed Ali Khamenei
  • Member of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution[15] from 30 November 2003 until present
  • Member of the Expediency Discernment Council[16] from 19 March 2007 until present
  • Head of the Assembly of Experts[17] from 24 May 2016 until present

Human Rights Violations:

During his long career in various positions of authority in the Islamic Republic, Ahmad Jannati has been responsible for and defended numerous human rights violations.

  • Torture, Imprisonment and Execution Sentences in Tehran and Isfahan

As an Islamic Revolutionary Court judge during the early years of the Islamic Republic’s regime, Ahmad Jannati was responsible for unfairly trying officials of the former Pahlavi regime and their associates. Jannati is also responsible for sentencing them to flogging, imprisonment and execution.

The Islamic Revolutionary Courts were established by Ruhollah Khomeini’s order on 24 February 1979, in order to address the crimes of the Pahlavi regime’s leaders. Subsequently, many of the regime’s officials were unfairly and collectively tried without a right to defend themselves.

In a televised episode of the program “Shenasnameh” (birth certificate)[18], Ahmad Jannati discussed the establishment of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts and his unqualified participation in them:

‘At first, when the revolution was underway and the [Islamic] Revolutionary Courts were founded, I was working in Tehran, right here in Ghezel Ghaleh with a number of others…which is a long story. It was decided that we’d become judges, and we had zero experience. Which is to say, we weren’t educated in judicial studies, we weren’t educated in legal studies, we had not studied. But we were familiar with the revolution and Islamic matters. Anyways, the Imam [Khomeini] said there was no other options and that we should come here; and right here the court was established, and these criminals were brought to this place and tried. I was right here in Tehran for a while.’

In the same broadcase, Ahmad Jannati explains the role he had in issuing sentences for flogging, imprisonment and execution:

‘For a while, I was going to Isfahan and was a judge [there]…those who would come there [as judges] didn’t know what to do. Like I told you, those like myself and I didn’t have any education regarding being a judge…We only [knew] those general principles that said the [Pahlavi] regime’s own people should be tired; that their trials depended on how much crime they had (sic), [let’s] imprison some. For many issues, we were in contact with the Imam [Khomeini]. In many places we were stuck. I even asked the His Grace, the Imam [Khomeini] whom we may execute.’

  In an interview with Tasnim news[19], Gholamhossein Sadeghi-Qahareh, who was the investigator for Branch 3 of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Isfahan during 1979, confirmed Ahmad Jannati’s participation in the unfair trials of that time. He stated:

‘In Isfahan, a group of pro-revolutionary people were arrested. Mr. Jannati and the martyr Qodusi were Sharia judges…At that time, most of the work of the revolutionary courts was focused on the commanders involved in martial law, SAVAK members and municipal officers who would directly engage with the people, beating and murdering them.’

  • Execution of Dissidents in Khuzestan

As an Islamic Revolutionary Court judge in Khuzestan, Ahmad Jannati was responsible for the trial, imprisonment and execution of dissidents in the province during that time. In a televised statement, Jannati said:

‘Then, once when the martyr Motahari told me, ‘Well, you go to Khuzestan. This is because, there, the prisons are full and there is no judge.’ [The number of prisoners] was increasing more and more each day. They kept [arresting] them faster and faster, and most of the time they had no place [to keep] them…I went to Khuzestan and started running the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and I got busy working…At the same time I was working at the Islamic Revolutionary Court, for some we would doubt ourselves as to whether we should execute them or not. The Imam [Khomeini] ordered that for those whose crimes were obvious, we should do it quickly…That was the Imam’s point of view.’

  • Suppression of University Students in Ahvaz

As a Sharia judge in Khuzestan and Friday Prayer Imam in Ahwaz, Ahmad Jannati was responsible for the killing and suppression of Ahwaz Jundishapur University students who opposed the Islamic Republic’s regime, after the ‘Cultural Revolution’.

Mansour Aslesharhani, a former political activist who witnessed the violent events at Ahwaz Jundishapur University, described Jannat’s role in the attacks on students during his testimony to Justice for Iran:

‘Two days before the events at the University, [Ahmad] Jannati came and performed his group prayer before the College of Agriculture. They wanted to close the College, they were unable to do so. Then, on television and radio, [Jannati] announced that, ‘Oh, communists and atheists are burning the Qur’an! Come help [us stop them].’ The worst scenes I saw there, were the indigenous people who were even far from the University, people who’d spent a lifetime propping up Imam Hossein and thought [the word] communist meant there is no God; well, they’d boarded these people onto small vans and brought them to the University. They were all armed with clubs and beating [students]…This mayhem was started by Jannati…The University’s records were all hand-written…’

In a televised interview[20], Jannati discussed his role in student suppression. He stated:

‘I began working as Khuzestan’s Friday Prayer Imam…people were very interested in us. Besides them, there was a group of people opposed to the revolution who had barricaded themselves at the university. It was just like that here, some had gone to the university and created a barricade. In the army there we some who were blocking our work. Eventually they told me to come do the Friday prayer at the university…I went to the university to offer the Friday prayer and it became very busy…Right there, they told me that these kids that had created a barricade at the university wanted to attack me…Then, by the grace of God, I was inspired to tell them to say on the radio, to call on the people to rush to the people’s university and save it. People, come to the university’s doors. People came and took all those who had created a barricade at the university, and they put them in jailed them; and the problem was solved, if this hadn’t been done those [people] would have caused us a lot of trouble.’

Many political and student activists were arrested, tortured, jailed and killed during the Jannati’s Friday prayer and during the following days[22]. Some were taken to the municipal building in Ahwaz and imprisoned there. On 24 April 1980, officials opened fire on a group of students protesting for their freedom. At least two students died after being wounded in the gunfire[23].

  • Preventing Free Elections

As Secretary and a member of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati is one of the main people responsible for preventing free elections in Iran. The Guardian Council violated one of the most basic rights of all Iranian citizens to run as a candidate in an election since 1991,when they used  Article 99 of the Constitution[24]  to veto candidates who are religious minorities, opposers of the Islamic Republic, and women[25].

  • Legalizing Retribution

As a member of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati is responsible for approving the law of Hudud and Qisas which allows for retributive justice[26]. With this law, judges gained the ability to sentence people to cruel and inhumane punishments such as execution, flogging, stoning, and punitive limb amputations.

  • Restricting the Freedom of Press

As Secretary of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati is responsible for restricting the freedom of press and human rights violations against journalists and others, by approving reforms for press law which make it illegal to engage in press activities which ‘operate or advertise against the Islamic Republic of Iran, support members of counter-revolutionary groups or illegal groups’[27].

  • Violating Women’s Rights

As Secretary of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati is also responsible for the violation of women’s rights by preventing the Islamic Republic of Iran from joining The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). With Jannati as Secretary, the Guardian Council deemed CEDAW to be contradictory towards Islamic law and prevented the country from becoming a party to the Convention.

In a letter to the Parliament, Jannati said of CEDAW[28]:

‘The content of this piece of legislation is at odds with some the essential laws of Islam, such as inheritance, retribution, blood money, divorce, martyrdom, age of majority, marriageable and non-marriageable kin, hijab, polygamy, etc.”

  • Suppressing Dissidents

Throughout his many lectures, prayers and interviews and across numerous platforms, Ahmad Jannati has demanded the suppression of political and ideological dissent against the Islamic Republic. Given his authority, these demands are guaranteed to be met.

  • Suppressing the 2009 Election Protests

As Secretary of the Guardian Council and the Friday Prayer Imam in Tehran, Ahmad Jannati was responsible for the suppression of the 2009 post-election protests. He supported the execution of protesters and called for the house arrests of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi.

The day after Mohammad Alireza Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were executed, Jannati thanked then-Head of the Judiciary Sadegh Larijani for executing them, during his Friday prayer speech in Tehran, and called for more executions[29]. He said to Larijani:

‘The heavy duty of the judiciary is dealing with these rioters… For the sake of God, persist courageously, just like you executed these two people very quickly, for which I thank you… the Qur’an has specified what is to be done with them… They must not be pitied. This is not the place for compassion…’

Political prisoners Mohammad Alireza Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were condemned to death in the summer of 2009, on charges of planning for armed action, even though it was revealed after their executions that they had been arrested in April and June, prior to the protests, and therefore, could not have been planning or carrying out any actions for the protests in June. Their executions were carried out on 28 January 2010.

After the 2009 election protests on 14 February 2011, Ahmad Jannati said in his Friday Prayer speech about the house arrest of the protest leaders[30]:

‘What the judiciary can and must do is completely blocking their connection to people, completely block the entrance ways to their homes, cut off their telephone and internet access so that they wouldn’t be able to send or receive any message and be imprisoned in their own houses.’

On the television programme Shenasname, Ahmad Jannati statedabout the protest’s leaders, Karroubi and Mousavi[31]:

‘They are bestowing a gift upon [Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi]. If they were to be tried, no conscious and just judge would condemn them to less than a death sentence…No government tolerates this…They would be executed if they were in any other country.’

  • Defending the 1988 Massacres

After the release of an audio recording[32] from Hosseinali Montazeri’s meeting with members of the ‘Death Committee,’ in which Montazeri speaks against massacring political prisoners including those of whom who had already served their prison sentences, Guardian Council Secretary Ahmad Jannati discussed[33] its disclosure at the Friday prayer in Tehran on 9 September 2016. He said:

‘With the release of this audio file, they’ve wrongly condemned the regime…the Imam Khomeini executed the verdict of Islam…Some people keep asking for Islamic compassion, meanwhile Islam has both compassion and violence…Therefore, people must be treated accordingly…The Imam ordered that they must be uprooted in order for the roots of the regime to remain in place…And the Qur’an instructs us to treat them as [people who wage war against God].’

In August and September 1988, thousands of political prisoners were executed under Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa (religious order), pursuant to the intelligence and judiciary authorities’ decisions. At the time of the mass executions, the victims had already served, or were currently serving their prison sentences.

The 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran is recognised as a crime against humanity by international human rights lawyers such as Geoffrey Robertson[34], as well as by the Iran Tribunal people’s court[35] and Human Rights Watch[36].

The United Nations recognises the 1988 Massacre victims’ cases as enforced disappearances. Enforced disappearance is a human rights violation and a crime under international law[37]. The crime is not subject to statutes of limitations, and charges may be initiated at any time, until the person concerned is found or their fate is determined. According to international law, the Iranian regime should guarantee the families of victims their rights to knowing the truth about the fates and burial places of their loved ones and hold accountable those responsible for such crimes.

  • Defending the December 2017-January 2018 Protest Suppression

As Secretary of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati was responsible for the violent crackdown on the nation-wide protests of December 2017-January 2018. He provided the grounds for violence against the protesters, describing the events as ‘sedition’ and stating that the protests were ‘designed by foreigners with the cooperation of domestic agents’[38]. Ahmad Jannati went on to praise the efforts of security and military forces to suppress the protests[39].

During the December 2017-January 2018 protests, about 4000 people were arrested, dozens were killed by police and Basij forces, and at least three detainees died in jail. Two of those detainees died under suspicious circumstances, which officials claimed were suicides without providing evidence of these claims.

  • Religious Persecution of Gonabadi Dervishes

As head of the Assembly of Experts, Ahmad Jannati has been responsible for the arrest, torture and murder of Gonabadi Dervishes. He officially called for the violent suppression of Gonabadi Dervishes during the 7th Golestan Street incidents in February 2018.

On 19 February 2018, Gonabadi Dervishes protested the arrests targeting their community and the further suppression of one of their leaders, Nour Ali Tabande, on 7th Golestan Street in Tehran. They were raided violently by security and police forces. The dervishes were severely beaten and injured. Some 170 injured Dervishes were transferred to hospital and nearly 300 of them were arrested. These events were known as 7th Golestan incidents henceforward[40].

Mohammad Raji, one of those dervishes was severely injured in the raid. Despite his injuries, he was taken to the Shapour detention centre where he was killed during interrogation.

Dozens of Gonabadi Dervishes were sentenced to long prison terms, flogging and exile. Mohammad Salas was executed based on confessions obtained under torture in 2017, after being tried on charges of murdering three police officers by running them over in a bus. Later, Ahmad Jannati lauded the judiciary for the extrajudicial and fast execution of Mohammad Salas[41].

  • Defending the Suppression of Women Protesting Forced Hijab

Ahmad Jannati has consistently defended police forces in their violent treatment of women who do not conform to the Islamic Republic’s dress codes and thereby has played a role in violating women’s rights and suppressing protests against forced hijab[42].

Jannati called women who non-violently protest forced hijab promoters of ‘debauchery and degeneration’ and asked for them to be dealt with in a severe manner[43]:

‘Today, some people mention the issue of hijab and this is, in a way, promoting debauchery and degeneration. Those who want to demonstrate debauchery, and through dancing and removing their scarves, which is in fact removing their chastity and honour, [will] be severely dealt with and stopped.’

[1] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-1.pdf

[2] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-2.pdf

[3] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-3.pdf

[4] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-4.pdf

[5] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-5.pdf

[6] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-6.pdf

[7] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-7.pdf

[8] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-8.pdf

[9] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-9.pdf

[10] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-10.pdf

[11] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-11.pdf

[12] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Jnati-12.pdf

[13] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-13.pdf

[14] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-14.pdf

[15] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-15.pdf

[16] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-16.pdf

[17] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-17.pdf

[18] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-18.pdf

[19] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-19.pdf

[20] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-18.pdf

[21] https://www.radiofarda.com/a/f8-janatai-and-justice-system/26648496.html

[22] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-22.pdf

[23] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-23.pdf

[24] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J01.pdf

[25] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-O2.pdf

[26] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-03.pdf

[27] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-04.pdf

[28] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-06.pdf

[29] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-25.mp4

[30] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-26.pdf

[31] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-18.pdf

[32] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/RAEISI-9.pdf

[33] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-28.pdf

[34] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/RAEISI-10.pdf

[35] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/RAEISI-11.pdf

[36] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/RAEISI-12.pdf

[37] https://goo.gl/2s7oiG

[38] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-07.pdf

[39] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/J-08.pdf

[40] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-29.pdf

[41] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-30.pdf

[42] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-31.pdf

[43] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Janati-32.pdf