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Reyhaneh Jabbari’s legal case: Iran bashing for populism


Related post: No bandwagon for Serena Shim https://lubpak.net/archives/325908



I am a critic of the Iranian thecracy and don’t need to repeat my arguments or cite my posts to show my neutrality and objectiveness. (Use Google if you wish to read my critical posts on Iranian theocrats.) At the same time, I am not a fan of jumping on the bandwagon.

I refuse to follow the fake liberal sheep and condemn execution of a convicted murderer by a court of law. Iran bashing is a popular hobby in Western media and is a trait also shared by fake or commerical liberals, Deobandis, Salafis and other Shia phobes. All of them are acting as lawyer, jury and judge without studying the details of this case – barring the one sided Western and Deobandi propaganda.

On social and mainstream media, there is a pronounced tendency to create a false binary between Iran on the one hand, and the former and current supporters of ISIS, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This false Saudi-Iran or Sunni-Shia binary is deeply problematic and damaging to the cause of human rights. A young female journalist of Press TV has just been murdered in Turkey by the State authorities. However, because Turkey is part of NATO and is aligned with the US in a very dubious and stage managed fight against its former ISIS protégés, it gets a free pass.

Interestingly, same Amnesty International that remains silent on routine massacre of hundreds of Shia and Sunni Sufi Muslims in Pakistan at the hands of Deobandi terrorists is making a lot of hue and cry on Reyhaneh’s exeuction in Iran.

I want every terrorist to be hanged. Similarly, killers who show no remorse for the acts should not be spared as the deceased victim and their families also have rights. Pakistan too must execute all killers and terrorists without late. All Deobandi and other terrorists of TTP, ASWJ etc must be hanged till death to make Pakistan a better place.

Here is an extract from a Western media report on Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution in Iran:

“Reyhaneh Jabbari had spent five years on death row for stabbing a 47-year-old surgeon. Reyhaneh, an interior designer by profession, confessed to kill Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in 2007. Sarbandi’s family insisted the murder was premeditated; Jabbari confessed to buying a knife 2 days before murder.
Sarbandi’s family insisted the murder was premeditated and that Jabbari had confessed to buying a knife two days before the killing.
According to Jalal Sarbandi, the victim’s eldest son, Jabbari testified that a man was present in the apartment where his father was killed but she had refused to reveal his identity.
He said in April that his family “would not even contemplate mercy until truth is unearthed”.
“Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy,” he said at the time.
Jabbari’s plea of self-defence failed to persuade judges at various stages of the appeal process up to Iran’s Supreme Court and she remained in prison throughout.
Her last chance of reprieve lay with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but he failed to intervene.
After the execution was carried out, the Tehran state prosecutor’s office issued a statement that appeared aimed at countering sympathy for Jabbari. It said: “Jabbari had repeatedly confessed to premeditated murder, then tried to divert the case from its course by inventing the rape charge.
“But all her efforts to feign innocence were proven false in various phases of prosecution. Evidence was firm. She had informed a friend through text message of her intention to kill. It was ascertained that she had purchased the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, two days before committing murder.

Here’s a detailed account of the case not reported in the mainstream Western media: https://lubpak.net/archives/325382#comment-1731123

If there are questions about the way this case was tried, they should be brought out into the open. At the same time, the questions cannot be selective. Critics of this decision should present both sides of arguments and evidence. If only one side is presented, then this is a simple case of Iran bashing by an organization, Amnesty International, whose selective and Western-centric stance on human rights has dented its credibility.

Facts on Murdererle




About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • This is adapted from Rahul Sharma’s comment on facebook:

    There are two things here. The trial of a woman who stands accused of murder, with her defence being the assault on her, by the victim, to violate her. The perspective of the story, as it is alluded to and published, conceals these details, seeking to accuse Iran of carrying out a judicial murder or a woman who killed in self-defence. The sentimental sheep find it easy to stay ignorant to it and rant against Iran.

    Secondly, Iran is a perfidy at this point in time in the Western media due to problems that USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia have with Iran due to its role in Syria, Lebanon etc. Therefore, it is only natural that every news item or roport that can be possibly twisted or exaggerated in a one-sided manner to bash Iran will be made full use of.

  • By the way, the Sipah-e-Sahaba wallas and Tarek Fatah types are currently busy in bashing Iran in the name of human rights.

  • Mohammad Shauzub Baqiri said:

    At the time of the murder seven years ago, Reyhaneh Jabbari was a 19-year-old interior decorator. Morteza Sarbandi, an intelligence officer, asks her to come decorate his office. He insists on driving Reyhaneh to the supposed place for decoration. On the way, he stops to buy a date rape drug from the pharmacy. When they get there, he locks the door and attacks Reyhaneh to rape her. During the struggle, Reyhaneh strikes her attacker with a knife that simply strikes his shoulder, but he dies anyway. Now, she is a 26-year old victim of (attempted) rape who has been convicted of murder.

    I must add at this point that in Islamic laws, murder is punishable by death if the victim’s survivors (or blood owners) choose so. On the other hand, they can forgive the murderer or receive the blood money (Diah) instead, in which case the murderer will not be executed.

    The son of the murdered man says his father was a physician and an ex-intelligence officer. As satellite channels advertise for Reyhaneh’s campaign and the case has received worldwide attention, unlike many similar cases before, this time since the judge of this case has retired, he was interviewed by Entekhab and reveals the truth. This interview is long and I have extracted parts of it here:

    Mr. Tardast, you have been the judge for the case of Reihaneh Jabbari, after seven years, do you still believe that she is a murderer?

    What can change my mind after close and profound inspection of the case which as specified by the law, was examined and handled by five judges.… Anybody who reads the 24 page report of the case will vote for its truth…. It was examined on top of all that by thirteen Supreme Court judges and not a single one voted against the verdict.

    There is now the “campaign of supporting Reihaneh,” have you seen their contents?

    I have seen the articles and views and I am sorry for Iran’s weakness in responding to centers for spreading lies. I have personally done my best in every case to convince victims’ families to forgive the murderer and not demand execution; I have thanked God every time I have been successful in that in similar cases. But with the invasion of agenda-driven groups on this case and spreading lies and accusations against the victim, the victim’s family are now holding a grudge and won’t consent to forgiving the murderer.

    Where does the family of the murdered stand on consenting to let off the death penalty?

    Once in court, I told them that even if the defendant has chosen a poor way for defense and have upset and disturbed you this way, consider that your father has made a sin having an affair, so please forgive this poor girl. But they told me: “First of all, this lady is not regretful at all. Secondly, instead of the truth, they now call my father a rapist.”

    Honesty and regret would have helped the family forgive and relieve her of death sentence?

    Yes, if instead of lies to get foreign citizenship, Ms. Jabbari had shown honesty and regret, she would have a good chance like many other cases.

    How was the state of mind of Reihaneh Jabbari?

    It was in a way that in an SMS to one of her boyfriends, she said she intended to murder her father. In court she said that she was a victim of her father’s violence when he drank.

    Has the confessions of Reihaneh been given under duress?

    Almost none of the key evidences come from her statements during the first interrogation, rather from her statements in court at the side of her lawyers. She so easily and relaxed talked about her deeds.

    In social media, her ex-lawyer Mr. Mostafayi has claimed that the door was locked, because the door is so filled with strikes of knife that it shows she couldn’t open the door. Is that true?

    It is an absolute lie. This Mr. I-am-human-rights acts like a corrupt politician. The accused has repeatedly stated in the court that the door was not locked. After plunging a 10-inch long blade that she bought two days prior to the murder, she left the scene pretty easily. The crime scene also shows that the door is not “filled with strikes of knife.” There is the evidence for one strike of a sharp object. When asked “why did you strike the door?” She said: “’cause I was excited and in a hurry.” When asked “was the door locked?” She replied: “No it wasn’t… After I plunged the knife, he threw a chair at me, I exited using the elevator and he used the stairs.” He died after climbing down two stories.

    What did Reihaneh do after she exited?

    She says: “I hid in the street, and waited. When I saw the ambulance and the Police, I took a taxi home.”

    Did the neighbors hear Reihaneh cry for help or anything?

    The crime scene is a five-story building such that the least bit of cry would be heard easily. In the questionings, the neighbors said that they only heard an object strike the wall which was the chair thrown by the victim.

    Was the relationship of Reihaneh with the murdered only concerning her job?

    Ms. Jabbari said at least three times in the court that “I used to give him services in return for benefits.” It had nothing to do with interior decorations. In their slang, what they mean by “giving services” is to have sex. In addition to having a fiancé and a boyfriend, she also had affairs with multiple people simultaneously including the manager where she worked, which resulted to having disputes with her fiancé.… This is an SMS from her fiancé to her: “You said goodbye to me when you started sleeping with…, dirt. This was my last SMS to you.”

    Given the age difference between them, why did they have a relationship?

    As stated and recorded in the case, she says regarding her relation with an older man (the murdered): “I wanted to give some controlled services and get some benefits. I wanted to prove that I can be independent without my family’s help.” Regarding how they met, she says: “On the street, he had a Toyota Camry [Cars are four times more expensive in Iran than anywhere else.—AM]. He stopped for me and I got in.… We exchanged numbers.” They had an affair weeks before the murder, they went to restaurants, were in touch constantly as their symcard messages show. On the day of the crime, the murdered came to her work to pick her up as planned. Her colleagues testified that when a Toyota Camry came to pick her up, she told them that he is her father’s friend, and that they want to buy the car. They even brought eggs for good luck.

    Considering your thirty years of experience what do you think her motivation was?

    For a solid investigation of the case, I appointed a female psychologist to the case to closely examine and interview the murderess and comment. The psychologist believed that the murderess suffered from an extreme case of narcissism. Her mindset contributed to her murder, but she had not suffered from any form of insanity to be absolved. Plus, since the murdered travelled a lot for trading medical equipment, he had promised her with trips to Europe which he didn’t keep and resulted in her anger. He also had promised to give her the Toyota for a Thursday out-of-town picnic with her friends at work which he didn’t do; this also raged her a great deal. She said she was embarrassed in front of her friends.

    Did Reihaneh plan for the murder?

    [I must explain at this point that the ritual for Islamic prayers usually involves a form of soft rug called Sajaddeh, which the person sets up and then says the prayer.—AM.]

    Reihaneh is not in the habit of being manipulated and never tolerates “not receiving benefits in return for her services.” That day when the murdered asked: “Take off your scarf [veil covering hair—AM],” she refused. When asked if he did any act of coercion and if he turned and moved away from her, she replies: “He went to say his prayers.” The blood spatter analysis on the Sajaddeh and the chair also confirms that he was saying the prayer at the time of murder and had his back to her.

    Was the plunging of the knife lethal?

    The knife went into his lungs. Forensic results contradict Mr. Mostafayi’s claim that “she just had a simple strike to the shoulder.”… The murdered had bought condoms on the way there, which he had put on the table right in front of her.

    It is claimed that Reihaneh’s drink was spiked. Did you send the glasses to the lab?

    There were two glasses, both of which were tested. The reports show that one of the glasses contained Difnoxilat which is a laxative.

    Do you concur with efforts to make the blood owner’s consent for lifting the death penalty?

    … Although I have retired and although it is their right to have the execution according to Islamic laws, I am ready to do everything within my means to get the blood owner’s consent.

    UPDATE: The execution of Reihaneh Jabbari has been postponed for another 10 days to give her a chance to get the consent of the victim’s family to let off the death penalty. The family have formally stated for quite a while that they are willing to forgive Rayhaneh Jabbari, provided that she comes out with the truth. Two nights ago, BBC Farsi brought a women’s activist to discuss the case. When asked “What does the son of Mr. Sarbandi mean by truth?” she replied:”What truth? Who knows what they mean?” Despite women’s groups lying through their teeth, the family has stated that they will ask for the death penalty to be rescinded if she comes out with the truth regarding the two following questions:

    When she committed the murder, a male accomplice was waiting for her and entered the room, this is why the victim followed them. Reihaneh has referred to this accomplice as “Sh.” The family demands his identity.

    Secondly, the family demands the real reason for the murder as opposed to the false accusation of rape.

    Why aren’t these “women’s groups” in support of getting these questions answered?

    (from The Indpendent facebook page)

  • from facebook:

    Hanif Turi said:

    This was purely a legal case, where the alleged rape victim could’t produce witnesses as per law and hence found guilty of murder. And the case has nothing to do with human right violation, Yes we can call it legal flaws, because such cases can be handle with medical exams…

  • from facebook:

    Red Sand-Dune said:

    “The motive for killing was never proved by the prosecution.”

    And you know this because you have access to the transcripts of court proceedings, correct? The prosecution did not need to prove a motive when the accused did not dispute the basic facts of the case against her. On a procedural matter, if you had a murder case anywhere in the West where the accused did not dispute the facts alleged, a prosecution is not obliged to go to arguments on motive either. Arguments on motive help a case, of course, because they bolster sentencing. But they are not needed when the central allegation is not in dispute. Rayhaneh Jabbari did not dispute her act of first degree murder. She did not offer a plea to the basic case brought against her. She offered a self-defense plea on her motives for committing the act, which she did not defend very well. The Iranian penal laws are quite straightforward on a case such as this. There is nothing political here other than what some people are making out of it.

    This case from start to finish is a politicized case on the part of Western HR groups and the usual anti-Iranian cavalcade to score yet more cheap shots against Iran.

    also this link: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/women-and-death-penalty

    Robert Riggs:

    Red Sand-Dune you are correct that this trial has been politicized by those with an overt anti-Iran agenda. I am curious if you have more info, however, on the appeals process in the Iranian court system, since in the link you provided, those U.S. court cases then go through extensive appeals. What is the legal principles at work in the IRI for appeals, etc. Any sources you can provide would be helpful…

    Robert Riggs:

    In addition, the lack of DNA testing (something which has recently overturned a number of high profile death sentences in the U.S.) seems to be a weak point, although I don’t know the current legal theorizing in Iran on how that meshes with Islamic legal principles (sounds like a good paper topic though!)

    Red Sand-Dune:

    I haven’t bookmarked most of the Persian language URLs of this case I have read over the past couple of weeks, which will take time to dig up again, but this case did go into an appeal. The term of the case was also seven years in total so several judicial steps (some including hearings) were taken during this time. The procedures to one side, the Iranian penal code was pretty straightforwardly applied in this case. The defendant also did not offer much of a defense on her own behalf even though she claimed a self-defense plea on the first degree charge. From what I read, the bulk of the final part of the proceedings were conducted by the defendant herself, with a suggestion in one comment made on an article that she had disagreements with her defense attorney. So, yes, to answer your question, Iran does indeed have tiers of courts that hear appeals when the decision of one (lower) court is deemed unsatisfactory.

  • Comments from a facebook discussiong group (provisional posting for preservation of comments and ideas)

    Khurram Zaki:
    She was executed for killing a man (a surgeon). In a court of law Reyhaneh’s statement on the context and background of killing can not be taken on face value till supported and corroborated by hard evidence. The woman was saying that the man tried to rape her and she was just defending herself. She might be true in her assertions but she couldn’t come up with any evidence that she was attacked. Court of law works on evidence and not on emotions. If you have anything concrete to substantiate her allegations against the man she murdered or even any evidence that may create some genuine doubts with respect to that, I will be the first to criticise the judgement.

    Khurram Zaki http://www.theguardian.com/…/iran-reyhaneh-jabbari…

    Iran executes Reyhaneh Jabbari despite global appeals for retrial
    Activists say designer killed man in self defence after he…

    read the above article. Its worth reading. She never revealed the identity of other man (probably accomplice) present in that apartment when murder took place. The son of murdered surgeon raised this question again and again and hinted mercy if she were ready to disclose the full details. She bought the knife two days before the actual murder and disclosed her intentions of killing him in a text message to her friend.

    Khurram Zaki:
    And don’t forget, it was the never the case between Reyhaneh and Iranian State but between her and next of kins of murdered surgeon.

    Ali Abbas Taj:
    It is indeed curious why she does not reveal the identity of the second man present while it is clear there was.

    I still don’t she should be executed. The rate of executions in Iran is 25 times that of Texas and Texans are absolutely nuts.

    Khurram Zaki:

    and rate of rape and murder is 25 times lower

    Abdul Nishapuri :
    This also suggests that the allegation of confession under torture may be exaggerated as the Iranian police couldn’t retreive the name of the third person in the room.

    Naseem Chaudhary: Abdul bhai was called Zionist for being critical of Iranian theocracy. similarly, Abdul bhai post his personal view, not all of ours at LUBP. I agree that women’s rigths big problem in Iran. Reyhanah should not be executed and laws are unfair but I also think that Abdul has a point about ppl jumping on the bandwagon and being selective. There is a clear and pronounced anti-Iran bias which would not be a problem if same ppl were fair in their treatment of other countries like Turkey. Also, I find that gaps in defense can all not be blamed on Iranian system. there is a clear tendency to jump on the bandwagon here. I think those who differe should write a post on this with your views just as Abdul bhai write.

    Khurram Zaki
    حدود و قصاص کو ٹالنے کا حق نبی مکرم صلی ﷲ علیہ و آلہ وسلم اور امام معصوم کے پاس بھی نہیں جب بینہ قائم ہو جائے۔

    Naseem Chaudhary:
    jumping on the bandwagon comment apply to those who tweet about Iran like Tahir Ashrafi but silent on everything else.

    Naseem Chaudhary:
    I don’t agree with some views of Khurram Zaki bhai but he is fighting in the trenches and he willing to listen to my jiyala view.

    Khurram Zaki
    I appreciate all academic differences, sir and I respect views of all contributors here even if I disagree.

    One, I do not believe in Sharia as it exists in any sect today. It can be taken a a difference in opinion.
    Two, if you believe that one theocracy is holier than others then we do not have the same ideology. We cannot talk about Qasas and diyat within the group and profess separation of religion and state in public.

    But to pick a case that is steeped in misogyny to defend Iran is a difference in values.
    I have been following this case because of my deep interest in women’s rights and am shocked that people are supporting her execution. Only Shias though.

    Very specific to this case, it is a mockery of justice.

    Amnesty International’s intervention never helped us because Iran never pardon’s anyone who the West wants it to let go. This becomes a matter of their pride.

    To quote the interview of her judge, which I too read in September, is like me quoting Justice Maulvi Mushtaq’s interview to prove that ZAB was guilty. This interview is so full of contradictions that it cannot escape anyone with someone knowledge of law.
    Jabbari was hanged because as per the anachronistic and misogynist Islamic laws she could not produce witnesses for the attempted rape. DNA test and forensic evidence were never produced in the court.

    The motive for killing was never proved by the prosecution.
    Why would a 19 year old low-middle class girl kill a powerful former intelligence officer?
    Who did the apartment belong to?
    Why was the girl put in solitary confinement for two months without any recourse to law whatsoever?
    Why was she tortured as confirmed by her first lawyer?
    Lab analysis showed the drinks Morteza intended to serve to Reyhaneh contained sedatives? Why was the DNA and forensic evidence not allowed?

    This case was never given a free trial.

    Her lawyer was threatened.

    Her family was threatened.
    Most of her later statements were extorted out of her. Like she had bought the knife two days earlier or that there was another man.
    Even if there was another man that was ruled out by the prosecution. Or else prosecution could not have gotten past this element of serious doubt.
    She was asked to produce witnesses instead of DNA tests and forensic examination.
    Cause of death has been reported as excessive bleeding following a knife wound.
    There was no evidence at all that it was a premeditated murder. (I have been talking to one Irani friend who has been following the reporting and blogs in Persian.)

    The trial begs too many questions.

    IT WAS NOT A FREE AND FAIR TRIAL. It was religious murder of yet another woman.

    The LUBP should make up its mind whether it believs in secularism or believes in theocracy for Iran and secularism for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
    October 28 at 12:51am · Edited · Like · 2

    Ali Abbas Taj:
    I believe the issue is not whether we we believe in theocracy or not.

    (I don’t Khurram Zaki does) so we don’t all have to believe the same thing or even have exact same values.

    The issue here is bashing Iran is not justified here, they did it according to their laws more or less.( which may have lots of flaws)

    So whether she is guilty or not is not an issue here. Whether Iran’s theocracy is good or bad is not an issue ( for Abdul Nishapuri’s article).

    Their laws and theocracy is not what Abdul wrote about. He wrote about “seculars” finding excuses to bash Iran.

    Now if you think Iran is treated fairly or given the same favors as Saudi or other countries than it is another matter.
    October 28 at 2:04am · Edited · Like

    Khurram Zaki
    /she could not produce witnesses for the attempted rape. DNA test and forensic evidence were never produced in the court./

    I am not sure if you know this fact or not but DNA tests and other circumstantial evidences are admissible in Iranian courts in cases of rape. And can I ask sir how you are sure if there was any such evidence available ?

    /Most of her later statements were extorted out of her. Like she had bought the knife two days earlier or that there was another man./

    In fact she kept insisting on this statement till last that there was some other man in the apartment who actually killed the surgeon. Why police will extort such statement out of her which actually goes in support of her ? Very weird comment, sir, from your side.

    /There was no evidence at all that it was a premeditated murder./

    What about her text messages to her friend and the fact that the knife she bought two days before the actual incidence ?
    October 28 at 2:12am · Like · 1

    Ali Abbas Taj
    Again I think Abdul Nishapuri comment is more to do with the BIASED bashing bandwagon of Iran not the case merits or demerits. It is neither about the form of government in Iran.

    Unfair Iran bashing is thinly veiled Shia bashing
    October 28 at 2:15am · Like

    Khurram Zaki, there is a misunderstanding here. I said if there was another man, the onus was on the jury to investigate. That there was another man can only mitigate her crime but can never accentuate, let alone prove, her crime. The SMS is also fake, as written by her lawyer.

    What you and Abdul are saying does not surprise me. Men in all religions have done it. Most Shia men have arrayed themselves in defence of a 47 year old adulterer against a helpless 19 year old girl who walked to the gallows with amazing dignity. Other patriarchal religions are no different.

    Now after seeing the arguments, I am still surprised that, in the last two years I have known, Abdul found this case as the only peg on which to hang his contention that he will not bash Iran to please anyone. Poor choice, sir, at best.

    Exactly when the DNA is admissible, why didn’t the prosecution ask for it or produce it in the court of law?
    Why was the girl condemned to two months solitary confinement with no access to a lawyer or anyone else?

    Now I repeat nowhere have I said that she was guilty or not guilty. To my great misfortune, I am not blessed with the certitude of religious men; instead I am wrecked by continual doubts. And I have serious misgivings about this case.

    My contention which I have repeatedly stated is that THIS GIRL WAS NOT GIVEN A FREE AND TRANSPARENT TRIAL. There is something else involved here which probably only the state of Iran knows, as the man was an intelligence officer.

    There are so many holes in this trial that I can ask a question everyday for hundred days.

    Either the Judge should not have mentioned that she had sexual relations with the man. He should have passed a verdict on murder. But a woman claiming rape and the judge alleging consensual sex is clearly a case susceptible to misogyny. For women’s rights I don’t care for anything.

    Right now this is the time for Ya Hussain Ya Hussain. Let’s not debate this at the expense of our due focus right now.

    But I take the challenge. After Soyem let’s fight this case openly on the LUBP based on my contention that Reyhaneh was not given a fair trial.

    May God rest Reyhaneh’s soul in peace.
    October 28 at 4:28am · Like

    Ali Abbas Taj Yes there is a lot of unfair Iran-bashing and double standards. But I contend that this case is not unfair Iran-bashing. The girls deserved a better trial. The Muslim men must stand against misogyny and not support it. More after soyem. Ya-Hussain and Peace for now.
    October 28 at 4:31am · Like · 1

    Ali Abbas Taj
    And my point is AZ I agree, the article is about unfair criticism and equating Iran with Saudi Arabia. Look at the tweets, this is what the article is addressing.

    Making Saudi Iran binary and by extention making Shia Sunni binary.

    Criticize Iran for Iran and Saudi for Saudi. There is no comparison.

    Yes you should write an article about how unfairly the girl was treated and LUBP should have no problem publishing it.

  • Michael Rubin @mrubin1971
    October 23, 2014 3:18 pm | AEIdeas

    Can Human Rights Watch be salvaged?

    Foreign and Defense Policy

    Image Credit: Mononomic, Wikimedia Commons
    Image Credit: Mononomic, Wikimedia Commons

    Over at Commentary, I look at the reign of Ken Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), and argue that if HRW is going to retain any credibility as a serious investigator and judge of human rights abuses, it is long past time that Roth step down.

    The problem is this: Roth has been unable to separate political advocacy from human rights research. When the two come into conflict, he favors the former. The reason for writing the piece at Commentary was yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem in which a Palestinian Hamas activist drove at high speed into a crowd at a Jerusalem train station, injuring both Israelis and Americans, and killing a three-month-old girl. Even though Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, Roth was unwilling to call it a terrorist attack, and instead implied it was an unfortunate accident.

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg. In early September, I showed that Roth basically made up numbers when he tweeted with regard to a massacre last year in Egypt, arbitrarily upping the figures he used when he felt insulted by the Egyptian government.

    Then, of course, there has been HRW’s partnership with Al-Karama, an organization whose head ended up being designated an Al Qaeda financier by the US Treasury Department. That should have cast doubt immediately upon the information HRW accepted from Al-Karama to incorporate into HRW reports. Perhaps HRW might not have known that its partner was, in effect, propagandizing for the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda against states like the United Arab Emirates against whom Al-Karama had a beef. But at the very least, this should have been cause to rescind and reinvestigate absent the corrupted information. Roth, however, chose to do nothing, in effect endorsing Al-Karama’s shoddy scholarship.

    A colleague points out that I missed one of Roth’s most egregious statements. Here’s Ken Roth carrying water for the Islamic State and that group’s ‘respect’ for human rights: “ISIS in #Iraq reportedly tried not to alienate local population, unlike PM Maliki & his violent, sectarian repression. http://trib.al/LqfFrjZ”

    We shouldn’t have to say this but a group too radical for Al Qaeda, a group which has murdered thousands of Yezidi men and boys; enslaved, raped, and trafficked thousands of Yezidi women and girls; a group which has murdered Christians, Alawis, and Shi‘ites simply because it doesn’t like the way they pray; and a group which has taken hostage and cruelly executed aid workers and journalists does not uphold human rights. Such action very much alienates the local population. Roth might not realize this but people don’t like being raped, tortured, and executed. Perhaps for Roth the issue was the sect of the victims; after all, HRW has actively sought to fundraise in Saudi Arabia, and so bashing Shi‘ites might simply have been a cynical strategy to fill HRW coffers. As for Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki? He was far from perfect but the moral equivalence Roth draws is inane and inaccurate.

    Was Roth simply calling attention to an interesting news story for his 82,000 plus followers? Not quite: he tweets in his capacity with HRW and HRW once prided itself on being more than the Drudge Report or Huffington Post.

    There is so much need today for independent, apolitical monitors of human rights. In every region of the globe, abuses seem to be mounting and dictators appear to be acting with impunity. Alas, Human Rights Watch’s executive director appears increasingly intent to subordinate the organization he leads to a much more limited and subjective political agenda. That is a tragedy not only for what HRW once was and what it could have been, but also for the victims of human rights abuses yet to come.

    Follow AEIdeas on Twitter at @AEIdeas.


  • Dean Mousavi said:
    Here are the facts about her execution
    She was a murderer and deserved to be punished as I said before I support the Capital Punishment and before the mainstream media and the Arab media make all lies about this case just look at the USA, China, and dozens of other countries that execute for much less like China they will execute you if you did an armed robbery even if it was just a blade.
    Egypt executed 500 life in a mass trial for being MB collaborators and fucking Saudi Arabia still beheading those who enter their lands illegally and it’s by beheading them (ISIS style) and everybody watch it.
    LikeLike · · Share · October 28


  • facebook:


    Abdul Nishapuri said:

    No bandwagon for Serena Shim?
    Unlike ‪#‎ReyhanehJabbari‬, ‪#‎SerenaShim‬’s only sin was that she wasn’t killed by Iran.
    How many liberal, secular and progressive activists wrote articles on Serena Shim?
    How many tweets? Facebook statuses, posts and banners?
    It’s not an either or case nor a comparison is intended. Both cases are important in their own way.
    Be an expert lawyer, jury and judge the way you did in a previous case.
    Support Serena or condemn her, say something. Break your silence. Will you!

  • Musa Cerantonio writes:
    3 Fake news stories you probably came across this week in social media
    Leave a reply
    1. Reyhaneh Jabbari, the woman who was hanged this week in Iran was NOT a Sunni and was most likely guilty of murder

    reyhanehMost of you will have seen in the past few weeks posts shared via Facebook and Twitter notifying people of the pending execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari from Iran, claiming that she was in fact a member of the minority Sunni Iranian community who was about to be killed by the Shi’a government for defending herself against a Shi’a man who had tried to rape her. Quite a big deal was made out of this and the case of Reyhaneh was being used as a proof of the continued persecution of Sunnis in Iran and many prayers were made for her up until the day of her execution. After she was hanged she was hailed by many people online as a martyr and kind words flowed for her and poetic obituaries were made for the woman who was supposed to be the latest victim of the Iranian Shi’a regime.

    Of course this was all nonsense. Reyhaneh was not a Sunni, she was a Shi’a like most Iranians and was more than likely guilty of a pre-meditated murder. The fact that the story about her being a Sunni was made-up should have been evident to anyone who had bothered to check official sources. Reyhaneh had been on death row for 7 years and not a single source ever claimed that she was a Sunni, it was only in the month before her execution that it was claimed on social media that she was a Sunni. The original claim made also said that she was an Arab from Ahvaz region where a minority Sunni community exists, this too was a lie as Reyhaneh was not an Arab but was full Persian/Iranian and she was from Tehran and was not from Ahvaz nor were any of her family. For 7 whole years not a single source ever claimed she was a Sunni because it was well known that she was a Shi’a.

    Some of the reports that incorrectly claimed she was a Sunni added that she had killed the man she claimed tried to rape her by smashing his head with a rock, this of course contradicts the real story of what happened which is that she stabbed him in the back with a knife that she had bought 3 days before the murder occurred. The inconsistent reports and false information should have been a giveaway that these unconfirmed social media posts were incorrect, however it seems that many preferred to judge by emotion rather than fact and took the bait hook line and sinker and fell for the lie that Reyhaneh was an Ahwazi Arab Sunni.

    It has since been confirmed by those who knew her that Reyhaneh was a Shi’a, and to dispel any doubt for those still wondering it was widely reported that she was buried in the Shi’a cemetery in Tehran known in Farsi as Behesht-e -Zahra. A Sunni Iranian social media page also confirmed that she was neither Sunni nor from Ahvaz and that the reports stating so were bogus and contradicted what was well known among Iranians who had known her and followed her case for 7 years. It is rather sad that the claims of Reyhaneh being a Sunni is not the only time that similar fake news has spread, in the past it was also claimed that Majid Kavousifar was a Sunni Iranian from Ahvaz who was hanged for the crime of propagating Sunni teachings in the country. Like with Reyhaneh his image was spread all over social media and prayers were made for him calling him a martyr. Unlike with Reyhaneh his name was changed in social media posts making it a bit harder to find out that the news was fraudulent, however a quick reverse image search quickly showed that he was in fact an ethnic Persian Shi’a who was convicted of killing a judge and was hanged for the crime, quite different from the claim of those who lied and tried to say that he was a Sunni from Ahvaz.

    Along with the strange attempt to portray Reyhaneh as a Sunni from Ahvaz, the social media posts seemed to also ignore the realities of the case, presenting Reyhaneh as someone who was most definitely innocent and the one she killed as being an attempted rapist who deserved to die. A basic look at the facts of the case suggest that this is far from true, rather than being a person who acted in self defence it was proven in her trial that she had planned the murder and only days before sent an SMS to a friend stating that ‘planned to kill him’, and that she had purchased the knife used to kill him also in the days before it happened. There are other pieces of news which also came out suggesting that there was a more sinister reason for Reyhaneh murdering the man however I won’t go into them here and they are easily found online for those looking for them.

    So does the fact that Reyhaneh was a Shi’a and not a Sunni change the fact that Iran is indeed oppressing and persecuting the Sunnis of the land? Of course not. The Iranian regime is without doubt one of disbelief, heresy and immense evil. Their actions towards the people of the Sunnah are well known and very real, however we cannot let fake news like in the cases of Reyhaneh Jabbari or Majid Kavousifar overshadow these real crimes.