Ayatollah Saanei's Fatwas on Confessions Obtained under Pressure of Prison and Other Inhuman Treatment:

Religious Authority: 
Yusuf Saanei
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Ayatollah Saanei's Fatwas on Confessions Obtained under Pressure of Prison and Other Inhuman Treatment:

After the referendum for the Iranian Constitution in 1979, the history of the Islamic revolution does not recall a more glorious scene than the presidential election of June 12, 2009. We remember the days and nights when our boys and girls, fathers and mothers, and even those who could not take part in the elections created so much enthusiasm, and so much honoured the values brought by Ayatollah Khomeini; we all cheered such glory and unity.

Alas, everyone had come to defend the principles of the Shi'a and the values and beliefs of our martyrs to show to the world that freedom is a divine gift, which no one can take away from the people. But what happened? Suddenly, the children of this Islamic revolution were taken into prisons. Our dear youth were beaten, and were injured and martyred. This was all because the legitimacy of the elections was questioned. Was it appropriate to respond to those protests and questions in that way, and to attribute all the protest to foreign states, and as such unintentionally create such crisis? The tyranny went on so that we now witness the trial courts for those who actively contributed to this same Islamic revolution. We knew the nature of such trials. The regime did not even show mercy, not only to the people, but also to the elites, those who dedicated their lives to serving Islam and the Islamic Republic. They put them under a variety of pressures and kept them in isolated cells; they kept them unaware of what was happening in the outside world; and more importantly, they kept their innocent families ignorant of their fate.

The Quran verse says: "And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and ye have no protectors other than God, nor shall ye be helped" (11/113). Noting this Verse, which explicitly warns about any inclination toward the tyrants and trusting them (for some reasons such as encouraging the tyrants in suppressing the people and excluding people's divine freedoms), I must stress the God's ruling about the current situation, especially the [simultaneous] trial of some 100 persons. This trial is indeed unprecedented in the Islamic jurisprudence, and is indeed associated with wrongs and sins.

Confessions presented to this trial are indeed void, as Imam Ali said that confessions under custody and in prison is void. Some of confessions produced in this trial was against third persons, which is indeed void, and is furthermore defamation and a huge sin in contradiction to all regulations as well as the human dignity. All the persons who contributed to obtaining such confessions have sinned for defamation and disgracing others. This is in Islam even more important than people's lives. They shall indeed face their sins both in the after life and in this world before a court of justice. In addition, one must not consider or effectuate such confessions as this would be trusting those who did wrong to the people's rights and the human dignity, and is clearly contradictory to the Quran and the divine rules.

[Note: For other opinions on this topic search: Iranian electoral politics.]

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