INTRODUCTION: Internal divisions in Iran continue to grow -- despite the country's preoccupation with the war with Iraq.
CUs President Bani-Sadr speaking, as reporter listens. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Internal divisions in Iran continue to grow -- despite the country's preoccupation with the war with Iraq. The latest step taken by the ruling Islamic Republican Party against President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr has been the passing of legislation this month to remove his right to make certain appointments. And in April the Majlis (parliament) cut his office expense, prompting Mr. Bani-Sadr to call for public donations to run his office. Another long-standing point of contention between the President and the fundamentalists has ben the clergy's zeal in conducting their own courts and executions without reference to the secular judicial system. President Bani-Sadr returned to the issue this month when he spoke at a news conference about torture in Iran.
SYNOPSIS: Confirming that torture existed in Iran, the President stressed that did not mean it was part of the judicial system. What he wanted was guilty people to be punished according to the law. He spoke of a meeting he had recently with an army officer who claimed to have been tortured for making a moral protest and said he was left with no doubt that torture was practised.
When President Bani-Sadr first alleged there was physical maltreatment in Iran's jails, an official investigation commission was set up to study prisoners' conditions and to report to Ayatollah Khomeini. The result vindicated the prisons, with the clergy claiming maltreatment occurred only in "exceptional cases". At the same time a group of 113 Islamic jurists and magistrates urged the complete revision of a "Law of Vengence", approved by the government in February. They predicted the law would cause great social and international damage
President Bani-Sadr's latest remarks came in a week when 16 people were executed by order of Islamic revolutionary courts.
Things cannot change all at once, Mr Bani-Sadr said. But it was his duty to protest at torture, in his elected role as the conscience of the people. For that reason, he said, he had asked for a presidential order to be drawn up to punish the tortures and to end "barbarous deeds".