Tazir: the Islamic Torture in Iran


by Diba

Torture has close relationship with ideological zealotry. In the justice system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a special word has been chosen to replace “Shekangheh” (the Persian word for torture) with the Arabic word of “Tazir”. This is not a simple change of words. The initiative to put Tazir in the place of shekanjeh meaning torture has serious and important implications for the IRI judicial system and the people who appear before the court.

The word Tazir is devised to clear the conscience of the interrogators, especially in the Islamic Revolutionary Courts, and their masters that clearly believe in all kinds of torture as an instrument of the administration of justice. The Mullahs and their lackeys can pretend, under the pretext of “Tazir”, that they are not involved in torture. All Iranian judicial officials claim that there is no torture in Iran (outright denial is one of the simple answers of the official of the Islamic regime of Iran to many questions: Lajevardi, the Butcher of Evin, used to say there was no political prisoner in Iran.)  but what they really mean is that there is no act called “torture” in the prisons and interrogation centers of the regime and yet if you ask what about “Tazir”, the response is Tazir cannot be torture because it is applied on the basis of the ruling of the religious judicial officials.

The reality is that there is no civil justice system in Islamic regime of Iran. The Islamic Revolutionary Courts look into all important issues, including all crimes against the security of the regime, major economic cases, and the cases related to the narcotic drugs and socials vices like drinking alcoholic beverages or having a party with the members of the opposite sex in any form.   It is useless to say something is “law” in the Islamic Republic of Iran because the Islamic Revolutionary Courts work according to the rulings of the Ayatollahs (called Fatwas and collected in books called Resalah) and the laws legitimated in the so-called Majles on the basis of the same rulings. Rule of law becomes meaningless when the violations of human rights and denial of the fundamental rights are actually part and parcel of the laws adopted by the Majles.

The judges, according to Islamic law only have to be Mullahs to be qualified and they judge according to what they claim to be “the law” of Islam. When an interrogator wants to torture a person, especially the political ones, he goes to a mullah-judge (called Hakem-e Shariah) and asks him to give permission for let’s say inflicting 50 lashes to get a confession from a suspect. If that works, mission is accomplished. If not, he can go back and get permission from the mullah- judge for additional and harsher lashings.

There is obviously a great difference in terms of pain between a gentle lash stroke and the severe stroke that would cause blood to gush out of the body of the miserable tortured person; however, there are no criteria or system to administer or observe how the permission of “Tazir” is implemented. The interrogators implement them as they wish. Sometimes the lashing, especially against women and young prisoners lead to severe injuries, damaging the internal organs and permanent loss of the physical functions. The interrogators never say that are involved in torture. Even a professional torturer like Assadollah Lajevardi, the Butcher of Evin, always spoke against torture and condemned the judicial system of the former Shah of Iran and the judicial system of other countries for having torture in their systems. His disciples that now rule the judicial system of Iran always use “Tazir” for getting confessions. They claim that they observe the constitutional law of Iran which forbids torture and they only execute the religious orders of the mullah judges for “Tazir’.

The mullah judges never dare to ask the interrogators who the persons that will be subjected to “Tazir” are.  Tazir in the interrogation chambers of the judicial system of Iran consists of the same methods that are traditionally used in all places under the title of “torture and degrading and cruel treatments”. Long solitary confinement is not at all considered torture, when in fact according to experts even short periods of solitary imprisonment are torture and it is one of the worst kinds of torture.

Other forms of Tazir in Iran are: fastening the person to an iron bed and lashing in the sole of feet, lashing the back of a person, beating the individual with a piece of cable, hanging the person upside down. One of the favorite “Tazirs” of the disciplinary forces is called “Chicken Kebab”.

They fasten the person to a pole and turn and beat the person on the soles of feet and the person’s back at the same time. There are other forms of torture too like stopping the medications, leaving the light on in the cells for 24 hours, calling for interrogation at odd times like middle of night, calling the person for interrogation while the eyes are closed by special blind folds and then leaving the person for long hours (for example 5 in the morning to 8 in the evening) without doing anything for several days, putting the person in a cell with insane or sick people, or hard criminals, threatening to arrest the person’s family, taking the members of family as hostage, sending the person to other prisons far from the residence, misusing the sentence of “exile”, misuse of the prisoner’s pay by prison officials, encouraging all prisoners to read Koran and learn it by heart irrespective of whether or not the prisoner is a Muslim which infringes on the rights of religious minorities. These methods are applied against men and women and it seems when it comes to torture (Tazir) of the opponents the Islamic Republic of Iran does not discriminate.

This is a piece from my recent book (Bahman Aghai Diba, Problems of the Islamic Republic of Iran: How not to govern a country, published in the USA by CreateSpace, June 2011, page 165)


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Interesting info. Had not

by vildemose on

Interesting info. Had not heard the word 'tazir' before. thanks for posting this blog.