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