Urgent appeal to uphold the independence of judiciary

To the President of Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Hassan Rouhani

To the Minister of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr Seyyed Alireza Avaei

Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri, the founder of Erfan-e Halghe, who has been sentenced to death three times (twice by the judiciary, once by the clergy), despite his sentences being cancelled each time by the Supreme Court. The new judge now presiding the case of Dr. Taheri, Judge Salavati, who is widely known as “The Judge of Executions” due to the sheer number of death sentences that he has ruled, has taken a step beyond the unexpected and threatened the family of Dr. Taheri’s lawyer, Ms. Zeinab Taheri, to force her to resign as the lawyer of Dr Taheri.

Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri (born 1956) is not a political leader or engaged in opposition activities. He has legally founded a psychological institute which advocated fostering physical and mental health, based on achieving harmony between the spiritual and material aspects of life.  Mr. Taheri's teaching and methods (Interuniversalism) became popular among tens of thousands of Iranians. During seven years of confinement, he has been accused of apostasy, insult to saints, undermining national security, etc. Mr. Taheri's death sentence is based on a law that was adopted 3 years after his first detention in 2010.

On August 27 2017, Dr. Taheri was for the second time sentenced to death. This death sentence was cancelled on October 25, 2017 by the Supreme Court, and the case was sent to Iran’s Judicial System to be reviewed by another Branch of the Revolutionary Court. On November 29, 2017, this case was sent to the determined branch, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court which is presided by Judge Salavati, for a re-evaluation. The continued re-evaluation is clearly a means to escape the Supreme Court’s ruling on the cancellation of Dr. Taheri’s death sentence, and it is a way to continue the judicial loop of torture keeping Dr. Taheri imprisoned. 

The decision of the judge to impose a lawyer on a defendant, violates the integrity and principles of the judicial system, of a lawyer being independent to the judge, and is violating the fundamental rights of the defendant in his/her freedom to choose his/her own lawyer. 

We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, call on Iran to uphold the independence of judiciary and ensure the security and safety of Ms Zeinab Taheri and her family. Further, we appeal to President Rouhani to release Dr. Taheri from politically motivated accusations and guarantee his well-being. We ask the same for all other people who have been sentenced to death in Iran.

Members of the European Parliament:

Tunne Kelam, EPP Group

Lars Adaktusson, EPP Group

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, EPP Group

Petras Auštrevičius, ALDE Group

Klaus Buchner, Greens/EFA Group

Jude Kirton-Darling, S&D Group

Mark Demesmaeker, ECR Group

Gerard Déprez, ALDE Group

Luke Ming Flanagan, GUE-NGL Group

Michael Gahler, EPP Group

Arne Gericke, ECR Group

Gunnar Hökmark, EPP Group

Ramona Manescu, EPP Group

Miroslav Mikolášik, EPP Group

Louis Michel, ALDE Group

Javier Nart, ALDE Group

Marijana Petir, EPP Group

Christian Preda, EPP Group

Robert Rochefort, ALDE Group

Petri Sarvamaa, EPP Group

Marietje Schaake, ALDE Group

Ivan Štefanec, EPP Group

Ruža Tomašić, ECR Group

Helga Trüpel, Greens/EFA Group

Hilde Vautmans, ALDE Group

Milan Zver, EPP Group

Strasbourg, December 12, 2017

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