Sadegh Khalkhali

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Sadegh Khalkhali
Sadegh Khalkhali Portrait.jpg
Head of Islamic Revolutionary Court
In office
24 February 1979 1 March 1980
Appointed by Ruhollah Khomeini
Succeeded by Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 28 May 1992
Constituency Qom
Majority106,647 (54.8%)
Member of the Assembly of Experts
In office
15 August 1983 21 February 1991
Constituency Tehran Province [1]
Majority1,048,284 (32.87%)
Personal details
Born
Mohammed-Sadeq Sadeqi Givi

(1926-07-27)27 July 1926
Givi, Khalkhal, Ardabil Province, Iran
Died26 November 2003(2003-11-26) (aged 77)
Tehran, Iran
Political party
Children3
Alma mater Qom Seminary
OccupationJudge

Mohammed Sadeq Givi Khalkhali (27 July 1926 – 26 November 2003) [2] (Persian : Sādeq Xalxāli) was a Shia cleric of the Islamic Republic of Iran who is said to have "brought to his job as Chief Justice of the revolutionary courts a relish for summary execution" that earned him a reputation as Iran's "hanging judge". [3] A farmer's son from Iranian Azeri origins was born in Givi (Ardabil Province, Iran) [4] in appearance Khalkhali was "a small, rotund man with a pointed beard, kindly smile, and a high-pitched giggle." [3]

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.

Shia Islam denomination of Islam

Shia, also transliterated Shiah and Shiʿah, is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet.

Summary execution execution immediately after being accused of a crime, without a fair trial; usually understood to mean capture, accusation, and execution all conducted during a very short span of time

A summary execution is an execution in which a person is accused of a crime and immediately killed without benefit of a full and fair trial. Executions as the result of summary justice are sometimes included, but the term generally refers to capture, accusation, and execution all conducted simultaneously or within a very short period of time, and without any trial at all. Under international law, refusal to accept lawful surrender in combat and instead killing the person surrendering is also categorized as a summary execution.

Contents

Career and activities

Khalkhali is known to have been one of Khomeini's circle of disciples as far back as 1955 [5] and is reported to have reconstructed the former secret society of Islamic assassins known as the Fadayan-e Islam after its suppression, [6] but was not a well-known figure to the public prior to the Islamic Revolution.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah and replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

On 24 February 1979, Khalkhali was chosen by Ruhollah Khomeini to be the Sharia ruler (Persian : حاکم شرع) or head the newly established Revolutionary Courts, and to make Islamic rulings. In the early days of the revolution he sentenced to death "hundreds of former government officials" on charges such as "spreading corruption on earth" and "warring against God." [7] Most of the condemned did not have access to a lawyer or a jury. Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Reza Shah's mausoleum was destroyed under the direction of Khalkhali, which was sanctioned by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [8]

Ruhollah Khomeini 20th-century Iranian religious leader and politician

Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.

Sharia, Sharia law, or Islamic law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.

Mofsed-e-filarz is the title of capital crimes in the Islamic Republic of Iran, that has been translated in English language sources variously as "spreading corruption on Earth", "spreading corruption that threatens social and political well-being", "corrupt of the earth; one who is charged with spreading corruption," "gross offenders of the moral order", and "enemies of God on Earth."

Khalkhali is known for ordering the executions of Amir Abbas Hoveida, [9] the Shah's longtime prime minister, and Nematollah Nassiri, a former head of SAVAK. According to one report, after sentencing Hoveida to death

Nematollah Nassiri Iranian politician

Nematollah Nassiri was the director of SAVAK, the Iranian intelligence agency during the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and later the Ambassador of Iran in Pakistan. He was one of the 438 individuals who were arrested and executed in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution.

SAVAK

SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD. SAVAK operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source, and another source by Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.

pleas for clemency poured in from all over the world and it was said that Khalkhali was told by telephone to stay the execution. Khalkhali replied that he would go and see what was happening. He then went to Hoveyda and either shot him himself or instructed a minion to do the deed. "I'm sorry," he told the person at the other end of the telephone, "the sentence has already been carried out." [3]

Another version of the story has Khalkhali saying that while presiding over Hoveida's execution he made sure communication links between Qasr Prison and the outside world were severed, "to prevent any last-minute intercession on his behalf by Mehdi Bazargan, the provisional prime minister." [10]

Mehdi Bazargan Iranian politician

Mehdi Bazargan was an Iranian scholar, academic, long-time pro-democracy activist and head of Iran's interim government, making him Iran's first prime minister after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He resigned his position as prime minister in November 1979, in protest at the US Embassy takeover and as an acknowledgement of his government's failure in preventing it.

By trying Hoveida, Khalkhali effectively undermined the position of the provisional prime minister of the Islamic Revolution, the moderate Mehdi Bazargan, who disapproved of the Islamic Revolutionary Court and sought to establish the Revolution's reputation for justice and moderation.

Khalkhali was known for his antipathy towards pre-Islamic Iran. In 1979 he wrote a book "branding king Cyrus the Great a tyrant, a liar, and a homosexual" and "called for the destruction of the Tomb of Cyrus and remains of the two-thousand-year-old Persian palace in Shiraz, Fars Province, the Persepolis." [11] According to an interview by Elaine Sciolino of Shiraz-based Ayatollah Majdeddin Mahallati, Khalkhali came to Persepolis with "a band of thugs" and gave an angry speech demanding that "the faithful torch the silk-lined tent city and the grandstand that the Shah had built," but was driven off by stone-throwing local residents. [12]

At the height of the Iran hostage crisis in 1980 following the failure of the American rescue mission Operation Eagle Claw and crash of U.S. helicopters killing their crews, Khalkhali appeared on television "ordering the bags containing the dismembered limbs of the dead servicemen to be split open so that the blackened remains could be picked over and photographed," to the anger of American viewers. [3]

Khalkhali later investigated and ordered the execution of many activists for federalism in Kurdistan and Turkmen Sahra, [3] At the height of its activity, Khalkhali's revolutionary court sentenced to death "up to 60 Kurds a day." [3] Following that, in August 1980 he was asked by President Banisadr to take charge of trying and sentencing drug dealers, and sentenced hundreds to death. [13] One of the complaints of the revolution's leader and Khalkhali's superior, the Ayatollah Khomeini against the regime they had overthrown was that the Shah's far more limited number of executions of drug traffickers had been "inhuman." [14]

In December 1980 his influence waned when he was forced to resign from the revolutionary courts because of his failure to account for $14 million seized through drug raids, confiscations, and fines, although some believe this as much the doing of President Bani-Sadr and the powerful head of the Islamic Republic Party Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti "working behind the scenes" to remove a source of bad publicity for the revolution, as a matter of outright corruption. [14] [15]

In an interview, Khalkhali personally confirmed ordering more than 100 executions[ citation needed ], although many sources believe that by the time of his death he had sent 8,000 men and women to their deaths. In some cases he was the executioner[ citation needed ], where he executed his victims using machine guns[ citation needed ]. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro he is quoted as saying, "If my victims were to come back on earth, I would execute them again, without exceptions." [3]

Khalkhali was elected as representative for Qom in Islamic Consultative Assembly for two terms, serving for "more than a decade." In 1992, however, he was one of 39 incumbents from the Third Majles and 1000 or so candidates rejected that winter and spring by the Council of Guardians, which vets candidates. The reason given was a failure to show a "practical commitment to Islam and to the Islamic government," but it was thought by some to be a purge of radical critics of the conservatives in power. [16]

Khalkhali sided with reformists after the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997, although he was never really accepted by the movement. [17]

Later years and death

Khalkhali retired to Qom, where he taught Islamic seminarians.

He died in 2003, at the age of 77, of cancer and heart disease. [18] [19] [20] At the time of his death, the speaker of Parliament, Mehdi Karoubi, praised the judge's performance in the early days of the revolution. [17] [21]

Personal life

Khalkhali was married and had a son and two daughters. His daughter, Fatemeh Sadeqi, though born in a restrictive Islamic environment, has attended university, attained Ph.D. and is now known for her secular views. [22] She was the author of “Why We Say No to Forced Hijab” — a widely circulated 2008 essay. [23]

Electoral history

YearElectionVotes%RankNotes
1979 Constitutional Experts 122,2174.818thLost [24]
1980 Parliament 123,13678.91stWon [25]
1982 Assembly of Experts 1,048,28432.8715thWent to run-off
Assembly of Experts run offNo Data Available1stWon
1984 Parliament Increase2.svg 144,160Decrease2.svg 67.11stWon [26]
1988 Parliament Decrease2.svg 106,647Decrease2.svg 54.81stWon [27]
1990 Assembly of Experts N/ADisqualified [28]
1992 Parliament N/ADisqualified [29]

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References

  1. "1982 Assembly of Experts Election", The Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University, retrieved 10 August 2015
  2. Sadegh Khalkhali
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali The Daily Telegraph 28 November 2003
  4. "Sadeq Khalkhali (Iranian judge) - Encyclopædia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  5. Taheri, Amir, Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution , Adler and Adler c1985, p. 113
  6. Taheri, Spirit of Allah, (1985), p. 187
  7. Molavi, Afshin, The Soul of Iran, Norton and Co., (2005) p. 9
  8. Jubin M. Goodarzi (4 June 2006). Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East. I.B.Tauris. p. 296. ISBN   978-1-84511-127-4 . Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  9. Hoveyda’s Tragic Fate
  10. Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran by Ervand Abrahamian, (University of California Press, 1999), p. 127
  11. Molavi, Afshan, The Soul of Iran, Norton, (2005), p. 14
  12. Sciolino, Elaine, Persian Mirrors, Touchstone, (2000), p. 168
  13. Bakhash, Shaul, The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution, New York, Basic Books, (1984), p. 111
  14. 1 2 Bakhash, Reign of the Ayatollahs, (1984), p. 111
  15. Qaddafi Meets an Ayatollah The New York Times, 2 January 1992
  16. Brumberg, Daniel, Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p. 175
  17. 1 2 Fathi, Nazila (November 29, 2003). "Sadegh Khalkhali, 77, a Judge In Iran Who Executed Hundreds". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  18. Obituary from The Economist
  19. Obituary The Daily Telegraph
  20. Obituary The Guardian (gives his full name as Mohammed Sadeq Givi Khalkhali)
  21. صبا, صادق (2003-11-29). اصلاح طلبان و در گذشت خلخالی (in Persian). BBCPersian. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  22. Afshari, Reza (4 November 2010). "Human Rights, Relevance of Culture and Irrelevance of Cultural Relativism". Rooz online. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  23. Goldstein, Dana (June 17, 2009). "IRAN AND THE VEIL". The American Prospect. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  24. Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "To The Masses", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 195, Table 6, ISBN   9781850430773
  25. "Getting to Know the Representatives in the Majles" (PDF), Iranian Parliament , The Iran Social Science Data Portal, p. 79
  26. "Getting to Know the Representatives in the Majles" (PDF), Iranian Parliament , The Iran Social Science Data Portal, p. 206
  27. "Getting to Know the Representatives in the Majles" (PDF), Iranian Parliament , The Iran Social Science Data Portal, p. 317
  28. "پنج دوره خبرگان؛ رد صلاحیت‌ها" (in Persian). BBC Persian. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  29. Farzin Sarabi (subscription required) (1994). "The Post-Khomeini Era in Iran: The Elections of the Fourth Islamic Majlis". Middle East Journal. Middle East Institute. 48 (1): 96–97. JSTOR   4328663.

Further reading

V. S. Naipaul interviews Khalkhali in two of his better-known books