A Look at the Situation of the Judiciary During the Pahlavi Regime

Irdc.ir: As the crises of World War I subsided, it was hoped that the path to constitutionalism and the rule of law would be paved. But with the coming to power of Reza Shah, it soon became clear that all the pillars and institutions of the three forces should be at the service of the concentration of political power. Reza Khan's approach to governing the country was interpreted by his supporters as "enlightened tyranny", and in such a situation it was the Shah, courtiers, government, police and influential people who pressured the judges to issue orders. This was while some judges still respected the independence of their vote and they were never giving in to bullying. According to Articles 81 and 82 of the Constitution, the government was not allowed to legally remove them from the judiciary or change their place of office. In order to make these principles ineffective, on the initiative of Ali Akbar Davar, Minister of Justice, on August 18, 1931, the Law on the Interpretation of Article 82 of the Constitutional Amendment was enacted in 5 articles. The first article of the law provided that the transfer of the place of office of judges "is not contrary to this principle."

According to Ibrahim Khajehnouri, one of the writers and officials of the Pahlavi regime: "The basis of justice was weakened by this one article". This politician believes: "The impact of this single article on the life of a constitutional people is so great that it is not an exaggeration to say that the contents of these few lines of the constitution turn into a tyranny.

However, Davar did not suffice to establish tyranny and stated in Article 3 of the same law, "Judges who Their mission location has changed in accordance with Article 1 of this law If they refuse to accept the mission, they will be considered rebels and will be prosecuted in a military court and punished according to the regulations of the Ministry of Justice. Thus, this law served to consolidate the dictatorship. This process continued until the end of Reza Shah's reign, and in cases where the government had a particular opinion, the independence of the judiciary was lost.

Davar later pointed out the inefficiency of this system and said: "I demolished a dirty old, dilapidated mansion in the courthouse on which to build a solid stone edifice of justice. But during the construction, a large number of influential people arrived and each of them insisted on placing a disproportionate brick in the middle of my building. Now that it is finished, I see myself in the middle of the stone facade of the mansion, a few bricks and some loose and ugly bricks have been placed. And the solid building I built is both out of composition and out of strength".

The dominance on the judiciary by the regime continued during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; Many historians and experts believe that in the Pahlavi regime the judiciary was almost completely integrated into the executive branch. Judicial decisions were reflection of the will of the government. In addition, the scope of the judiciary was gradually limited by the expansion of military courts and special civilian courts. Therefore, under the rule of both Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah, the legal system of the country was based on the premise that the government is not wrong.

Arsalan Khalatbari, a member of parliament and a lawyer during the time of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, writes about judicial procedures during the second Pahlavi era and the transformation of the judiciary into the executive branch: "In recent years, some judges in the judiciary have been promoting the influence of the government in the judiciary through other means. Thus, in government lawsuits with the people, they think that the ruling in favor of the government is to serve the community, even if it is against the right, and some of them even pretend to do so and resort to it to gain legitimacy, And others may think of steps in a shorter period of time, and this is a major flaw that currently exists and will gradually cause the judiciary to be consumed in the executive branch, as has been seen in the past.

The process of government interference in the judiciary went so far that SAVAK, in the name of the country's interests, arrested, interrogated, tortured, imprisoned and executed individuals without controlling or being accountable to the individual or organization. The credibility of the judiciary was thus greatly diminished and there was no rule of law, because accepting the rule of law would weaken the absolute power of the Shah.

The takeover of the judiciary by the regime had a negative impact on the people, so that the people were completely disappointed with the country's judicial system. Ettelaat newspaper writes in the editorial number January 21, 1961 referring to this issue: "People are disappointed with justice and this is the most deadly social danger. The members of the judiciary themselves, even the minister and the deputy director general and the high-ranking judges of the judiciary, all know that the people are disappointed. They do not consider the sword of the angel of justice on the scales of justice as moderate and they themselves know that the people are right, but why the judiciary is not reformed and why they can not reform the judiciary? I think it is because the judiciary has been enchanted and no one has yet been found to break it."

But the government continued to wield influence over the judiciary without regard for the will of the people, so much so that according to Mahmoud Toloui, all justice ministers in the last fifteen years of the Pahlavi dynasty were executors of the Shah and lacked independence.

As a result, in late 1975, the London-based Amnesty International, which in the past focused on the problems of political prisoners in the Eastern Bloc, turned to non-communist countries and realized that Iran was one of the "greatest human rights violators." In the world. In an open letter to the Shah, the UN-affiliated International Commission on Human Rights also accused the regime of gross human rights abuses and called on it to rectify the "deplorable human rights situation" in Iran.

In addition, lawyers expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the judiciary, Wednesday, July 27, 1977 In a report, the Financial Times reporter refers to the lawyers' protest against the regime's seizure of the judiciary and writes: "These days, another letter written by 40 Iranian jurists to Nusratullah Moeinian, the head of the Shah's special office, is being circulated among the people. In this letter, the Iranian government is accused of taking over the judicial affairs of the country for its own purposes.

In the final years of the Pahlavi dynasty, judges were even forced to join the Rastakhiz Party, and the judiciary became a pillar of protection of authoritarian rule. The process of the judiciary in the Pahlavi regime made judges and lawyers one of the first groups to express their dissatisfaction with the regime in 1977, so that the majority of them joined the wave of revolution in 1978.