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Judiciary Chief: We never said president cannot visit prisons

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Oct 25, IRNA -- IRI Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Amoli Larijani said here Wednesday we have never said that the president cannot visit the country’s prisons.

According to IRNA, the Public and Ceremonial Affairs Head Office of the IRI Judiciary Force made the remark reacting to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request for a visit of the Tehran Evin Prison and his claim that that request has been unjustifiably rejected.

He added at the weekly session of the country’s judiciary chiefs, “Our reply to that request was that due to the existence of certain ambiguities and suspicions and doubts which might arise in the minds of the people, it is not to the country’s expedience today that such a visit would take place, and that whenever the Judiciary Force would deem appropriate, the harmonizing for this visit would be made.”

Ayatollah Larijani referred to the regular and continuous visits by the countries’ officials of the Iranian prisons, including the visit of a number of ministers, governors and governor generals, Parliament members and Friday prayers imams, and even foreign delegations and international organizations, arguing, “The Judiciary Force has basically no problem with visiting the prisons and no sensitivity about the matter.”

The Judiciary Chief added, “I, as the head of the Judiciary Force, had announced earlier and in sessions allocated to surveying the prisons’ problems, budget, and facilities that if the government officials do not believe the problems that the Judiciary Force is faced with, and particularly those of the Prisons Organization, they had better come and visit the prisons.”

He said, “Based on that proposal so far a number of ministers and various other officials have visited the country’s different prisons, and thus how can we believe that the Judiciary Force is opposed to the IRI President’s visit of the prisons?”

Ayatollah Amoli-Larijani emphasized that the differences of opinion among the various officials, and even some disputes must not lead to disturbing the minds of the public and referring to President Ahmadinejad’s 2nd letter on the matter said, “A logical and legal response to that letter would be presented to the president in near future.”

In a letter addressed to the Judiciary Chief, the IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has quoted Article 121 and 123 of the IRI Constitution, stressed the need to abide by those laws, and said, “I would for sure visit the prisons and some courts of justice, survey the method of abiding by the country’s laws in those places, and observation of the nation’s rights there, and report the outcome to the great nation and the Supreme Leader.”

The president had is in his second letter reiterated that in the text of the IRI Constitution there is no reference to the need to gain the approval of the Judiciary Force, or to abide by the expedience of that body, for the president in performing his legal duties.

The Public and Ceremonial Affairs Head Office of the Judiciary Force further quoted Ayatollah Mohammad-Sadeq Amoli-Larijani as saying, “Claiming to intend the basic rights of the nation is not enough for breaching the rights and privileges of the other forces and creating disputes.”

He added, “I do not think it is to the expedience (of the country) that such correspondences would be at public level; the session of the heads of the country’s three branches of power are for surveying such cases and tackling and solving them, and at them there have been very serious discussion in some occasion, but referring to the basic rights of the nation is no good excuse for public declaration of such issues.”

In the IRI President’s letter addressed to the Judiciary Chief it was said, “When I received your honor’s Top Confidential letter, dated October 21st letter, I got seriously worried lest the esteemed Judiciary Chief is breaching several articles of the constitution. Since this correspondence is related to the basic rights of the nation, there is no need to put the confidential seal on them.”

The Public and Ceremonial Affairs Head Office of the Judiciary Force further quotes Ayatollah Larijani as saying, “Despite my inner personal will, I would in near future give a logical and legal response to the president’s claims in his recent letter, believing that the root cause for them is misconception regarding the legal barriers of the heads of forces and the limits of their legal rights.”

He added, “If the issues brought up in this letter and the misconceptions regarding the duties of the heads of the three branches of power and their barriers and limits would not be elaborated and well defined, some people might assume that the presented issues had been in accordance with the laws.”

Ayatollah Larijani has considered the Guardians Council as the legal source for interpreting the IRI Constitution, emphasized on need for full honesty of entire officials in heeding their responsibilities, plans, and words, as prerequisite for solving the problems, reiterating, “The Constitution has clearly defined the way for solving the disputes among the heads of the country’s branches of power, while interpreting the constitution is up to the Guardians Council.”

He reiterated, “I believe the entire accusations made against the Judiciary Force in this letter are false, and I hereby announce that the president’s assumption that he has the right of supervision over the performance of the other two branches of power is basically false.”

The Judiciary Chief referred to the President’s quoting of Constitutional Article 113, arguing, “The Guardians Council in its latest interpretation of Article 113 has reiterated that Article 113 does not mean that the president can supervise over the performance of the other branches of power, and under the 2nd sub-article of it is clearly mentioned that you are not allowed to interfere in the field of duties and responsibilities, and the quality of performance of the duties of the heads of the other branches of power.”

Ayatollah Larijani said, “The Judiciary Power and each of its affiliated organs, including the Prisons Organization, are in accordance with the IRI Constitution and the regular laws of the country clearly commissioned to heed certain duties, and supervision over their performance and their management, in accordance with Constitutional Article 175, is up to the Judiciary Chief.”

He considered the President’s recent letter as a case of misconception about the laws and said, “If it would be claimed that the President is allowed t visit the prisons without harmonizing in advance with the Judiciary Force this is against the Constitution.”

The head of the Judiciary Force asked the entire system officials to both safeguard the laws and to abide by them, emphasizing that the emerged dispute is not over the Prisons Organization, but over the barriers and limits of the President’s duties and rights, further emphasizing, “I hope the entire system officials would both abide by the laws and implement them precisely.”

Ayatollah Amoli-Larijani emphasized that the President should not assume that he has the right to oblige the other powers to do something, or to assume that he can visit the courts and prisons without gaining permission to do so in advance from the Judiciary Force.

In the President’s letter to the Judiciary Chief it was said, “According to Article 113 of the IRI Constitution, as the highest elected official of the nation next to the Supreme Leader, and as the Head of the Executive Branch of Power, the IRI President and in addition in charge of implementing the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, in accordance with Article 121 of the Constitution, the President has sworn religiously to safeguard the nation’s basic rights. Safeguarding the nation’s basic right has been so important in the viewpoint of those who drafted the Constitution that in the text of the President’s religious swearing in it has clearly been mentioned and in various interpretation of the esteemed Guardians Council, too, this important responsibility and right of the President has been stressed.”

The president had continued his letter reiterating, “I, in accordance with my legal duty, have surveyed the method of implementing the Constitution in that power, including the method of inspections. Ever since the year 2009 I have written several letters to your honor and warned about abiding by some articles of the Constitution, but refrained from open declaring of them. In my public addresses I have given the required clues on the need for abiding by the rules of justice and precise pursuing of the people’s rights. Particularly two months ago at the gathering of the judiciary officials in Holy Mash’had I expressed my concern about the Judiciary Force’s serious concern about abiding by numerous articles of the Constitution, particularly articles 2, 3, 6, 9, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 quite clearly.”

According to the Judiciary Force Public and Ceremonial Affairs Head Office, Ayatollah Amoli-Larijani said that the President’s recent letter has provided food for the anti-revolutionary media and the enemies of the system, adding, “The sentences and words used by his eminence have become the raw material for the western media, and now they ask and claim that it must be discovered what is going on in Iranian prisons that even the President of the system is not allowed to visit them, while I hereby strictly announce that in the prisons of Iran the laws are fully implemented.”

The Judiciary Chief emphasized that keeping in mind the recent letter and the emerged conditions, visiting the Evin Prison would not be allowed without getting prior permission strictly.”

Earlier, the Judiciary Force Spokesman Hojjatoleslam Gholam-Hossein Ezhe’ie had referring to the President’s first letter in which he had requested to visit the Evin Prison said that under the prevailing conditions and keeping in mind the country’s priorities, particularly the economic problems and the people’s living conditions, and that the fact that the officials’ entire efforts must be focused on elimination the people’s worries about the expensive prices of goods, and controlling the markets, we need to fully focus on the country’s main priorities.

Hojjatoleslam Ezhe’ie had added, “Over seven years has passed since his honor’s tenure as President and he had filed no request in this regard, but now that near the end of his tenure one of his advisors (the IRNA Chief and President’s Media Advisor Ali-Akbar Javanfekr) is in prison this request might make everyone think that the president’s politicizing the matter, and even from this viewpoint we should keep in mind the expedience and this visit is not appropriate under these conditions.”

Ahmadinejad has in his letter to the Judiciary Chief reiterated that incidentally solving the economic problems basically, and dealing with their root causes is in need of implementing justice comprehensively in addition to applying economic solutions, the former one is among the duties of the Judiciary Force and the latter one is up to the government, which is the place where the duties of these two organs intermingle according o many experts. But unfortunately there is no precise and documented report on the Judiciary Force’s performance of its duties in this respect.”

Ayatollah Larijani elsewhere in his address for the judiciary officials referred to the economic problems and the chaotic conditions of the bazaars, asking the system officials to focus on solving the people’s living difficulties.

He said, “The executive officials of the country are by all means responsible to manage the country’s financial affairs and to regulate the market, and to refrain from adopting policies that create more problems.”

The Judiciary Chief added, “Side by side with the executive officials, the Judiciary Force, too, would severely deal with the criminals in economic field, but the Judiciary Force’s share in this respect is limited and the government must adopt steady and rational policies in market management and in regulating the hard currency market.”

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80386028

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