Top Court Acquits Killers

From the July 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

In a controversial move, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned the convictions of six murderers on the basis that their victims were deemed to be morally corrupt. This decision was the third reversal by the Supreme Court on the men since they were sentenced to death by the lower courts.

The men, members of a government-favored volunteer militia force, have been implicated in 5 of 17 murders dating back to 2002 that began after a senior cleric ruled that “Muslims could kill a morally corrupt person if the law failed to confront that person.” The International Herald Tribune commented on the legality of the case: “[C]harges can be dropped if the accused can prove the killing was carried out because the victim was morally corrupt. This is true even if the killer identified the victim mistakenly as corrupt. In that case, the law requires ‘blood money’ to be paid to the family…This year it is $40,000 if the victim is a Muslim man, and half that for a Muslim woman or a non-Muslim” (April 19).

Enforcement of such laws from a non-governed body has caused fear among many Iranians. What’s worse, the court itself virtually ignores these atrocities—allowing individuals to take the law into their own hands.

This ruling from the highest court in Iran reveals the mindset not only of those committing the crimes, but also of the governing powers that allow it. Consider: If this is what they do to their own people, what justice awaits their enemies?