An Analytical Report by Advar Organization
On “Plan to Promote Public Security”
Defending Public Security and Privacy
The Plan to Promote Public
Security has several components such as “Countering improper Hijab (Islamic dress),” “Collection of
dangerous drug addicts and undesirable elements,”
and “Supervision of activities in the private sector.”The implementation
of this plan began in May 2007. The authorities stated its aim to increase the sense of safety and
security amongst citizens. According to the police
and security officials, this Plan is part of a comprehensive public chastity plan that has been approved by
the highest authorities such as the Supreme
Council of Cultural Revolution and communicated by the president to security and police forces. The Plan
was designed by
Plan to Counter Improper Hijab
The first phase of the Plan
to promote Public Security started with countering improper Hijab in Ordibehesht 1386. During its
implementation, police forces accompanied by female agents
surveyed public buildings and spaces, giving warnings to women and girls regarding their clothing. The agents
would subjectively determine if a person should
be referred to judiciary for prosecution. The police agents would subsequently detain and transfer them
to the detention center of the Bureau for countering
Social Corruption in
The police and security forces also controlled
purchases made by women in commercial spaces, opening their bags and inspecting purchased articles of clothing.
The agents would issue warnings to
retailers and if ignored, they shut down shops. Countering women with improper hijab has been intensified
The campaign to combat improper hijab has not been limited to women. Security forces have also targeted and warned boys and men, regarding their clothing and “western style” haircuts. The police have demanded and obtained the names of hairdressing establishments, refereed them to the judiciary, and have closed them. The agents have also acted to cut boys and men’s hair short.
According to published statistics,
within the first month of implementing the Program to Promote Public Security, 14,635 men and women in ten
Controlling the public’s clothing, widespread presence of police agents in shops and retail centers, inspecting shops, and insisting on barring entrance to women considered to have improper hijab, according to the whims of police agents, has resulted in drastic reduction in sales and production of clothing items in Iran, as well as return of many inventories and straining the clothing industry in general. Producers and retailers have experienced a drop of 40 to 60 percent in demand.
Plan to Collect Dangerous Addicts and Undesirable Elements
The collection of dangerous addicts and undesirable elements has been implemented such that masked security agents have entered homes at night time by breaking doors and severely beating suspects prior to arresting them. To destroy their reputation and dignity, toilet equipment (Aftabeh) was hanged around the necks of 30 suspects while they were paraded by masked agents in city neighborhoods. The detainees also received severe beatings in public places. According to available information, 4,209 persons have been arrested throughout the country under the guise of being undesired elements (riff-raffs). According to one set of statistics, from 1,300 such detainees, 781 of them who had not committed any crime were released after giving written guarantees. 180 of them were released after posting bail set by judges, and 160 persons were imprisoned, majority of them in Kahrizak.
The detention environment in Kahrizak was extremely harsh. Ten detainees, following beatings, torture, and lack of access to medical care died. According to former detainees, police agents tortured them with methods such as pulling nails, to force them to confess to crimes they had not committed.
12 detainees identified
as riff-raff, detained on
Plan for Social and Moral Safety of Women
This plan was implemented beginning in March 2008. During its first three months, it resulted in detention of 6,414 persons who according to the authorities were engaged in disturbing women. %,492 of them were released following providing written guarantees and 924 of them were referred to judicial authorities. In addition, 1098 women with improper clothing who allegedly caused harm to public chastity were detained. Of these, 954 were released after posting written guarantees and 114 were referred to judicial authorities. In this plan, 197 prostitutes and brothel operators were arrested and referred to judiciary.
Plan for Supervision of Private Companies
Security forces have been encountering private companies regarding the clothing of their employees. According to police officials the purpose of this plan is to supervise closely the work environment in these companies to survey for unhealthy relationships and if so, to control them and to if continued, to deal with them more intensely. This plan is targeting private companies and businesses such as coffee shops, internet cafes, performance centers, and restaurants.
Plan to Fight Anti-Cultural Products
This plan targets producers and street-sellers of illegal CDs. In this process, many stores selling cultural products, several publishing houses, and bookstore-coffee shop combinations have also been shut down.
Photography shops have been inspected, some have been shut down and others received written warnings. According to the inspector of the photographers union, 25 photography and video production units have been shut.
Collection of satellite dishes in
Ninety percent of those detained during the implementation of this plan involved music CDs and banned movies. Seventy percent of those detained during this plan were in the age range of 16 to 26 years old.
During its first six months, 85% of persons detained during the Plan to Promote Public Safety were between 16 to 26 years old.
Offences and Punishments relating to the Plan to Promote Public Security
The authorities have mentioned two offences more than others: “Improper clothing,” and “Wickedness.” Nowhere in Iranian penal laws, there is a mention of wickedness. Improper clothing is also lacking in definition and explanation of how it should be determined. Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code, provides for punishment of women with no hijab (Islamic clothing) . The punishment for no Islamic clothing is imprisonment from ten days to two months or a financial fine of $50 to $505. Methods to determine improper hijab is provided in internal directives of the surety forces, but is not defined in the law.
Rights Violated under the Plan to Promote Public Security
Right to Safety: Under the Plan to Promote Public Safety, the security of individuals and as a result the general public’s sense of security is violated. “Violating immunity, peace, liberty, integrity, and privacy of citizens” is the clearest form of violating their security. Agents responsible for providing citizen’s security, are indeed violating it.
Right to Privacy: Right to privacy is an important human right that includes a person’s private life, family, home, integrity, personal vehicle and place of work. Article 22 of the Constitution states that: “ A person’s reputation, life, rights, residence, and job should not be subject to outside interference.” Article 25 states that “Interfering with a person’s private sphere without a legal and judicial permit” is not allowed. Under the Plan to Promote Public Security, citizen’s privacy, ranging from pedestrians in public places to private cars, to shops and places of work have all been interfered with and inspected. Inspections without proper permit regarding the interactions of males and females also constitutes one of the major violations under this Plan.
Right to Freedom from Arbitrary Detention and Right to Due Process: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, together with international human rights treaties clearly state that “No one shall be deprived of their freedoms unless in accordance with the law and legal procedures.” Therefore, any detention for any amount of time must be with a proper judicial order. Unless a definite crime takes place and is witnessed by police agents, then they can detain the suspect for a period of 24 hours. Article 32 of the Constitution as well article 24 of the Criminal Procedures confirm and guarantee this right. Police teams in large cars have detained men and women for hours and held them inside these vehicles. Sometimes these arbitrary detentions have lasted days and led to a judicial case. Indeed, police agents without proper judicial warrants have acted in arbitrary detentions and denial of due process to detainees. In addition, police agents violate civil rights to enjoy fair due process within the eligible and independent judiciary system by establishing detention and trial center in street.
Right to Freedom from Torture: International human rights treaties clearly ban torture, ill-treatment, and cruel and inhumane treatment. In many instances under the Plan to Promote Public Security, especially in dealing with those accused of wickedness, this right has been violated. Beatings, degrading behavior, insults, hanging insulting objects from necks are examples of physical and psychological torture. Also, persecution of women and men in dealing with improper hijab included degrading and insulting treatment that is equivalent to torture. In situations when a person insisted on their legal rights, police agents have beaten and intensified their harsh treatment.
Freedom of Movement: Human rights treaties guarantee freedom of movement within and outside of one’s country. Although this right is not explicit in Iranian laws, but article 9 of Civil Law accepts international treaty obligations to be equivalent to domestic law. Under the Plan to promote Public Security, this right is violated and citizen’s movements are restricted and subject to intrusive searches.
In the Promoting Public
Security plan, many other civil
rights, including freedom of business, freedom of expression, directly and indirectly,
are being violated. Therefore, this plan is one of the most systematic
and widespread human rights violations in
2. The negative social impact of the Promoting Public Security plan, including promoting telling lies and having double faces, destroying people’s personality and dignity, advocating suspicious and mistrust, minding to other people’s personal life, are morally rejected, have been destroyed social cohesion and structure.
3. Public Security, naturally and legally, is major task of government. However, the plan to promote public security resulted in widespread limiting and violating legal public rights and freedom, as well creating public fear and frightening situation.
The Human Rights Committee of the Iran Alumnae Organization believes that ensuring individual security by respecting individual human rights is the major mechanism of enhencing the national public security.