Imam’s Eight Articled Directive to Protect Privacy

Imam’s Eight Articled Directive were issued at a time that the country was facing a war with Iraq and a year after terrorizing the officials and several bombings and even armed street conflicts, the interior political situation had just became settled; despite all these the Islamic revolution’s great leader insisted on “replacing God’s rules instead of tyranny rules of the previous regime in the Islamic Republic’s system” to protect all of the people’s right and privacy.

“An important message has been issued by Imam to prevent the extremists and harassment of people and spying on them and improper filtration. It’s an effective message.  It has been issued by the influence of people’s great participation in the elections.” These are what Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote on the night of October 24th 1982, and the day after that in his speech, as the parliament speaker, before the official session of the parliament he noted: “What Imam has relied on in this historical message, is the needs of our society to feel calm and safe through the rules and Islamic regulations. The Assembly of Experts’ elections and people’s gratitude and their great participation and cooperation with the policies of country have been affective on issuing this message.” In addition to Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, head of Iran’s Supreme Court and Mir Hussein Mousavi, prime minister, who were responsible for executing this message, in a common message named it “a new and great movement”. Ayatollah Taheri, then the Friday Imam of Esfahan also remarked about Imam’s Eight Articled Directive: “The authorities shouldn’t just pass by it with only some meaningless slogans and tributes.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami, Yazd’s Friday Imam, insisted on “executing Imam’s commands” and “that it should be done as soon as possible” and said: “the important issue is this, that Imam’s commands shouldn’t be lost between meaningless approves , but all its content should practically occur and be visible.” The Keyhan newspaper expressed hope in its editorial article “that oppression and humiliation of human dignity and rights violation and ignoring the dignity of others and the non-Islamic and inhumane behavior of some officers will be investigated and finished,” and “causes of oppression, injustice, indignity and inhumane and self-interested agents will be exposed” and “suspicious hands and uncertain movements which try to neutralize practical effects of Imam’s decisive positions will be immediately recognized.”

Political parties also welcomed the issuing of these commands, and emphasized on the importance of executing them. Even Rah-e-Tudeh magazine (belonging to Tudeh Party of Iran) in its weekly analyze on October 28th 1982 wrote: “Imam Khomeini’s message responses to an essential need of our society on a great turning point in Iran’s revolutionary society. Imam’s message shows the objective necessity of preparing a safe and calm environment along with respecting the law and legality, a calmness relying on the law and a law which will protect the revolutions achievements.” The Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI party) also in a letter to the head of the Supreme court wrote: “The warnings in Imam’s message about protecting people’s rights and avoiding desecration towards them, came from the content of Islamic Sharia and are completely synchronized with God’s commands in his book and the constitution which approximately all the people have accepted it, there has been such warnings to the authorities before this too… any way we hope that issuing this message could encourage everyone to execute God’s rules and the constitution, and it could open a new season in our young republic if it won’t stop in the level of announcements, resolutions, speeches, seminars and political exploitations.” Sayyid Mohammad Taqi Mohassel Hamedani who was the deputy of the General Inspection Office (GIO) of Iran and afterwards became the executive officer of Imam Khomeini’s Eight Articled Directive says that the report that he and the experts of the GIO had gathered from the revolutionary organizations and later along with Ayatollah Mustafa Mohaqeq Damad , head of the GIO, delivered it to Imam Khomeini had caused Imam to issue these commands. According to some sources the reports that had been delivered to Imam about the behavior of the judiciary officers had caused him to issue these commands.

The base of civilian rights

Imam’s Eight Articled Directive were issued at a time that the country was facing a war with Iraq and a year after terrorizing the officials and several bombings and even armed street conflicts, the interior political situation had just became settled; despite all these the Islamic revolution’s great leader insisted on “replacing God’s rules instead of tyrannical rules of the previous regime in the Islamic Republic’s system” to protect all of the people’s right and privacy. Although issues like this are mentioned in different articles of the constitution especially in the “nation’s rights” chapter: immunity of dignity, life, property, rights, house, and occupation of individuals from invasion (Article 22), prohibition of inquisition (Article 23), 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 25), individuals should be arrested only by a legal warrant and along with clarifying the purpose. (Article 32), 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 34), 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. (Article 37), All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violation of this article is liable to punishment in accordance with the law. (article 38), 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. (Article 39), But Imam Khomeini in his Eight Articled Directive stresses on preparing Islamic rules and approving them and delivering them, especially the judiciary regulations. Complete impartiality in handling the affairs of authorized officers along with emphasizing on the principle of “the measure is people’s current situation”, issuing Islamic sentences by the judges, who are Islamic qualified, with independence and power, prohibition of arresting or summoning individuals without a court warrant, which should be issued based on Islamic laws, are among the most important notes of the revolution’s leader in his Eight Articled Directive to the officials. Article 6 and 7 in this command clarifies Imam’s stress on preserving the personal rights of people; the 6th article says: “No one has the right to enter ones house, shop or working place without the permission of its owner or arrest him/her or pursue and observe him/her in the name of discovering an evidence or a committed sin or to insult one and commit non-human and non-Islamic behavior, or listen to one’s telephone or cassette tape in the name of discovering a crime or discovering a crime nest, or for discovering a committed sin or a crime, though the sin is a huge sin, or to place a bug or follow the secrets of people and to search in the sins of others or reveal the secrets of one which has reached to him by another person, even for one person. All these are sins and crimes, and since some of them that are distributing prostitution and sins, are among the huge sins, and those who commit them are counted as criminals and are entitled to legal-religious chastising and some deserve legal-religious limitations.” And according to the 7th article of these commands: “What I have mentioned and prohibited, is not about conspiracies and anti-Islam and anti-Islamic Republic groups who gather in safe team houses to overthrow the Islamic Republic and to terror devotees and innocent people in streets and markets and for sabotage and corrupting plans and those who are enemies of God and his prophet; where ever they are and in whatever governmental or judiciary organization, university or other centers they work, they should be faced with a firm and strong action but  of course with full caution, and a religiously legal action, with the permission of prosecutors and courts, because crossing the religious laws, even for them, isn’t permitted as carelessness and negligence isn’t permitted. At the same time, the officers shouldn’t do anything beyond their mission, which their mission is also limited to the arresting area, and beyond legal and religious regulations. And it is strictly warned that if for discovering a safe team house or an espionage or an anti-Islamic Republic nest, and by mistake and accidentally enter another person’s house or office and find gambling and prostitution instruments or instruments of diversion means like drugs, they do not have the right to reveal in front of anyone else, because revealing prostitution is among the hugest sins and no one has the right to desecrate a Muslim’s right or Islamic Sharia. They should only do their duty as “Forbidding one from a sin” as it has been mentioned in Islam and have no right to arrest or beat the owners or the residents and passing God’s limits is tyranny and entitles religious chastising and paying back. But those who is clear that they are smuggling drugs, they are entitled as Spoilers in the earth (mufsid fil-ardh) and indicates one who strives for spreading prostitution and corruption among mankind’s generation and not only the drugs should be banned but also the drug dealer should be handed over to the judiciary officials. Also the judges have no right to issue a warrant for the officers that would allow them to enter ones house or office which is not a safe team house or a place for conspiracy against the Islamic Republic, and the one who issues or executes such a sentence will be prosecuted legally and religiously.” The importance of these commands reveals itself because usually emergency situations is an excuse to ignore people’s rights, but the founder of the Islamic republic in bad war and internal policy conditions gave these notifications to the officials, somehow that it became a base for founding civilians rights for individuals in the Islamic republic along with several articles from the constitution which stress on preserving personal privacy for individuals and even the defendants. Imam Khomeini, after issuing the Eight Articled Directive, repeatedly stressed the need for its implementation and to avoid extremes and considered it as a bilateral oath between sovereignty and the nation, as he had said: “We shouldn’t do oppression, or investigate inside people’s houses, and no one has the right to form hot spots or casinos. Inside an Islamic government, these issues are fought with. We want God’s rules to be issued. As there is a side, the other side should be considered too. At one side we shouldn’t behave badly with the people, we shouldn’t enter their house; people should feel calm in their houses, lives and trades. The Islamic government is obliged to insure the people in every issue such as their investments and trades. The government has no right to invade them and if one invades he shall be punished. And on the other side if the people who are against Islam present sins in public, they too shall be punished.”

Neither indulges nor neglect 

According to Imam’s Eight Articled Directive, Ayatollah Sayyid Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, chief of supreme court and Mir Hossein Mousavi, prime minister were religiously obliged to prevent the mentioned issues: “And they are required to form trustful committee in the governor and county offices; and ask people to deliver their complains of the oppressions made by the officers who visit them for collecting tax and money from them, and the mentioned committees should deliver their conclusion to the Chief of Supreme Court and the prime-minister, and they should refer and follow up these complains to the judiciary officials and punish the aggressors based on the Sharia.” On December 19th 1982 he formed a committee to peruse his Eight Articled Directive: “Gentlemen, Mr. Mousavi Ardebili- Chief of Supreme Court, Mir Hossein Mousavi- Prime-minister, Imami Kashani- Chief of Administrative Justice Court, Mohaqeq- Head of GIO, Nateq Nouri- Interior Minister, Aqa Zadeh- Consultant Minister, have the right to dismiss the offenders by the choice of the majority. I ask God for the success of all the gentlemen.” The founder of the Islamic republic in a meeting with the Eight Articled Directive committee members on June 28th 1983 asked for quick and strict action against the offenders: “The gentlemen should seriously form a court to process the offenders issues, the offending judges and whoever that is an offender no matter  where he is, and whenever someone is recognized as an offender he should be replaced in maximum three days, and if the officials neglected and didn’t replace them without any logical reason, you gentlemen, the members of this committee, you are permitted to replace them yourselves, do it independently and without neglect, and of course don’t forget the other side too, you shouldn’t oppress anyone. In any point of the case, this case is an important case, it’s about the dignity of Islam, the dignity of the Islamic republic of Iran, and this is no joke, that someone has done a lot of oppression to someone, and then  someone else would help him, to help an oppressor. Such things shouldn’t happen. They should stop doing these stuff, or else they’ll be punished.” Imam Khomeini on February 2nd 1982 in reply to a letter from Mousavi Ardebili and Mir Hossein Mousavi about illegal seizure of properties stated: “About the seizures my opinion is as I have said in the Eight Articled Directive and before any religious sentence at the courts, any kind of manipulation, expropriation, putting a supervisor and etc is religiously condemned and if there is any sentence against it is not valid, and the committee should strictly prevent it and in a case that it has been related to me, before asking directly from myself they should not consider it, because a lot of different issues that are told to be rested to me are false.” Imam Khomeini also in the beginning of the year 1983 in a meeting with the government administrative and state and military officials once more stressed on executing the Eight Articled Directive and said: “What I have said in my Eight Articled Directive, of course they have done as I have asked, but it’s still not enough, they should follow it up with more power so the confusions in this country would come to an end.” Ali Akbar Nateq Noori, then the Interior Minister, who was a member of the Eight Articled Directive committee, in his memories points to the minor matters that this committee handled and said: “This committee slowly got involved with minor matters, for example if a governor offended, they would have went to him and for example asked why has the price of cement and cigarette increased for a few Tomans? Once in a meeting I said: “Was Imam’s purpose by the Eight Articled Directive about rise of the prices?! We are deviating Imam’s command by these acts. We should deal with the big offends, not the minors.””

The measure is people’s current situation

“he measure for any one is his current situation.” this is the last sentence of Imam Khomeini’s will.; the same sentence that has been stressed in his Eight Articled Directive and also in the letter about banning non-sensible investigation and selections which he wrote on January 5th 1982 to dismiss the selection committees in all the country: “The measure for selection is the current situation of people, unless he is a member of the corrupt groups or their current situation is corruption seeking situation, but those who have conducted things they shouldn’t have because of the pressure from the tyrannical regime or the atmosphere and now they are in a well situation and righteous morality, there should be no ignorant extreme acts against them for this is oppression and against Islam and should be prohibited… Investigating about people who are not a member of corrupt groups is totally prohibited and questioning these persons about their sins, as there have been reports about these kinds of questionings, is against Islam and the questioner has committed a sin. In the selection process these kinds of anti-Islamic morality issues should be prohibited.”

A charter for all the governments

Imam Khomeini’s Eight Articled Directive inspired the protection of civilian rights which was approved in the 6th parliament on May 4th 2004 and the day after that it was approved by the Guardian council and was titled as the “Civil rights act” article, which was sent to related organizations by the judiciary few months before that as a regulation. The fifth article of the civil rights act mentions: “Prohibition of arrest and detention of individuals requires that in case of emergency it should be based on the sequential order that is specified in the law and the case should be sent to the competent judicial authorities within the predicted time and the arrested people’s family should be informed.” In the sixth article it says: “During arrest and interrogation and investigation of people harassments such as closing their eyes and other parts of their body, humiliation and hiding them should be avoided.” In the seventh article it is mentioned: “Interrogators and investigators should avoid from covering their faces or sitting behind the accused or taking him/her to unknown places and generally “illegal acts”.” Also in the ninth article it is stressed on the prohibition of torturing the accused: “Any kind of torturing the accused to get confession from him or to force him to other actions is prohibited, and the confessions received this way are not reliable religiously or legally.” The tenth article says: “Interrogation and investigations should be based on principle, scientific, legal and previous teaching methods and observations should be done and those who don’t adhere the orders and regulations and have done their responsibility with illegal methods should be strictly punished based on the law.” The eleventh article mentions: “The questions should be useful and clear and related to the charge or charges and curiosity in personal and family secrets, and questioning of past sins and issues that have no effect in the case should be avoided.” The twelfth article: “The answers should be written as they have been said and without any change and should be read for the accused and literates may write themselves if they prefer so there would be no doubt of distortion.” In the 14th article of the Civil rights act it is mentioned: “Undue manipulation of objects and recorded and apprehended property of the accused is prohibited and in the first possible moment the properties and objects should be determined by a sentence from a court, and while there is no sentence about them they should be kept with complete care and they should not be used for personal or administrative uses.”

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