APPENDIX 1.1: CONSTITUTION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Iran’s constitution contains numerous guarantees that are directly relevant to political prisoners. The following excerpts from selected articles con rm the unlawful imprisonment of the women at Evin’s Women’s Ward for their peaceful expression of dissent or beliefs.
- ARTICLE 23 (Freedom of belief): The investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.
- ARTICLE 24 (Press freedom): Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when it is detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public. The details of this exception will be specified by law.
- ARTICLE 25 (Privacy of communication): The inspection of letters and the failure to deliver them, the recording and disclosure of telephone conversations, the disclosure of telegraphic and telex communications, censorship, or the willful failure to transmit them, eavesdropping, and all forms of covert investigation are forbidden, except as provided by law.
- ARTICLE 26 (Freedom of association): The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations, as well as religious societies, whether Islamic or pertaining to one of the recognized religious minorities, is permitted provided they do not violate the principles of independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic republic. No one may be prevented from participating in the aforementioned groups, or be compelled to participate in them.
- ARTICLE 27 (Freedom of assembly): Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.
- ARTICLE 32 (Prohibition of arbitrary arrest or detention): “No person may be arrested except according to and in the manner laid down in the law. If someone is detained, the subject matter of the charge, with reasons (for bringing it), must immediately be communicated and explained in writing to the accused.
- ARTICLE 34 (Right to a competent court): It is the indisputable right of every citizen to seek justice by recourse to competent courts. All citizens have right of access to such courts, and no one can be barred from courts to which he has a legal right of recourse.
- ARTICLE 35 (Right to legal counsel): Both parties to a lawsuit have the right in all courts of law to select an attorney, and if they are unable to do so, arrangements must be made to provide them with legal counsel.
- ARTICLE 36 (Right to competent sentencing): The passing and execution of a sentence must be only by a competent court and in accordance with law.
- ARTICLE 37 (Presumption of innocence): Innocence is to be presumed, and no one is to be held guilty of a charge unless his or her guilt has been established by a competent court.In addition, Iran’s constitution contains an article directly relevant to the degrading and abusive treatments experienced by the prisoners in Evin’s Women’s Ward.
- ARTICLE 39 (Prohibition of affronts to the dignity of an arrested or imprisoned person): [All] affronts to the dignity and repute of persons arrested, detained, imprisoned, or banished in accordance with the law, whatever form they may take, are forbidden and liable to punishment.