Iran Supreme Leader bans judges from basing decisions on Western human rights principles News
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Iran Supreme Leader bans judges from basing decisions on Western human rights principles

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei ordered the country’s judiciary not to refer to Western human rights principles in their decisions, in a Saturday speech during a meeting with the country’s Judiciary Chief and other senior judiciary officials. The Supreme Leader said that the principles are incorrect and described Western countries as hypocritical. The statements by Khamenei come one day after Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence imposed on dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi.

After Salehi’s arrest, he was charged with “corruption on Earth,” which carries the death penalty, as well as “propaganda against the state,” “collaboration with hostile governments,” and other offenses punishable by one to ten years in prison. Toomaj was segregated from all other inmates in Dastgerd Prison, a maximum security facility run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Salehi was persecuted for many of his lyrics, which Iranian leadership found to be subversive. Salehi spoke out against the death of Mahsa Amini and the oppression of women in the country overall. 22-year-old Amini was killed while in police custody for failing to wear a head covering, which is required of women by Iranian religious law. During the period of unrest in the country, Iran’s legal system cracked down on protestors and public figures like Salehi. Many protestors, like 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari, were executed by the authorities.

In the aftermath of the protests, the UN found that widespread human rights violations had been committed by Iranian authorities. The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission released a report that documented a range of alleged violations and crimes, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, rape, enforced disappearances and gender persecution. This was not the first time the Iranian government has been accused of human rights violations.

In 2019, Hamid Nouri was arrested in a Swedish airport for his role in a series of prison massacres in Iran in 1988. An Amnesty International report from 2018 alleged that between July and September of 1988, thousands of political dissidents and activists were killed in Iranian prisons with their bodies left in unmarked graves, some of which have yet to be discovered. Multiple officials alleged to be involved in the killings are still in power including current Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Nouri was convicted in the Stockholm District Court in 2022 for participating in a massacre at the Gohardasht Prison near Tehran. 

Iran is preparing for an early preidential election on June 28 following the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash in May.