One-eight of Iranians Have Judicial Files

An interview with Abdol Fettah Soltani

Saturday 28 February 2009

Translated by: Tara

The vice president of the judicial branch criticized the drastic increase of judicial files and the growth of these files relative to the population of the country. Abbasali Alizadeh in an interview with ISNA pointed to the growth of the crimes by 15% as well as the growth of violations by 12%.

Abdol Fattah Soltani, jurist, in an interview with Deutsche Welle not only emphasizes on the necessity of finding the origins of violations, but also believes that one of the main reasons of the high statistics of crime in Iran is criminalization of civil activities.

Deutsche Welle: The administrative and financial vice president of the judicial branch has said that eight and a half million judicial files per year in an Islamic and revolutionary country is dramatic. What are the existing mechanisms in the judicial branches which lead to these high statistics?

Soltani: it should be considered that in our society, some of the files are established because of the activities that considered normal in other societies. For example, in other societies, charges won’t be filed because of the inadequate Islamic covering (hejab) or the relationship between males and females. On the other hand, social activities of the youth and citizens are very natural and are not considered as criminal acts. Look at the number of college students, laborers, press and political activists arrested each year in Iran because of absurd reasons. These arrests are considerable portions of these files. Same problems exist in the civil affairs. If we do not change the female-related rules, it is natural that the divorce statistics will grow continuously. And, this by itself can increase the statistics of the files in the judiciary courts.

Deutsche Welle: It also seems that in other areas related to the real crimes, the heterogeneous politics of the authorities to react to the aspects of crime interfere with the increase of the statistics. Mr. Alizadeh has talked about failure of the arrests; however, we witness the new levels of the Social Safety Project by the police force.

Soltani: In Iran, there is no central unit for social plans. So long as the authorities react only to the effects [not to the cause], crimes will not be reduced. For example, after the revolution, there were severe punishments for dealing drugs. Did the executions cause reduction in addiction and drug dealing? We should find the origins of these phenomena. We should battle unemployment as well as poverty. We should make available appropriate entertainment options for the young people to prevent them from committing crimes. Unfortunately, there is no certain plan and our society faces variety of challenges and issues.

Deutsche Welle: All the socialists and criminologists believe that punishment will not destroy the basis of crimes. A lot of the authorities also agree. Then, why the punishment policy is enacted within the society?

Soltani: Experience has proved that we can’t solve anything by imposing more pressure on people - neither in the society nor in the educational setting. This method has damaged both the people who forced it and its victims. Have we been able to reduce crime and violation of the law in our society by the many number of executions and punishments? [No] The only way to resolve this situation is to battle the cause and root of these crimes and violations.

Deutsche Welle: Mr. Alizadeh has said that from every eight Iranians, one has a judicial file. Are the authorities themselves included in these statistics?

Soltani: Basically, these statistics cover the whole population of Iran. The authorities also live in this society. They as well as their family members are part of this society. In order to solve all these problems, we hope to engage and consult with compassionate experts and intellectuals and therefore reduce the risk of producing more problems. We are hoping that great-thinkers find ways to correct the current situation such that in the next ten years we won’t have these types of problems.

Read the original interview in Farsi


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