On Iran’s Death Row? Memorize the Quran and Win Your Freedom

Four Iranian criminals are hanged in public in the southern city of Shiraz, 05 September 2007, a day on which 21 people were executed. (AFP/Getty Images)

Four Iranian criminals are hanged in public in the southern city of Shiraz, 05 September 2007, a day on which 21 people were executed. (AFP/Getty Images)

Obamacare_stack_0If ever there were a time to find your way off death row in Iran, it’s right now. Judicial executions have sped up dramatically under President Hassan Rouhani. Despite his outwardly friendly appearance, he seems particularly fond of sending his citizens to the gallows. But if you’re a death row convict in the Islamic Republic, a little rote learning could be your path to freedom, because Iranian prisoners are seeing their sentences commuted, or even earning their release, by memorizing and reciting holy text.

Related: Imprisoned by Obamacare’s Mandates? Memorize all 11,588,500 Pages of Rules and Regulations in the Affordable Care Act and President Obama will Personally Sign an Executive Order Authorizing Your Freedom.

According to Reza Sadeghi, head of Isfahan Province Endowments and Charities, 16 death row prisoners held in Central Isfahan Prison—five women and 11 men—were pardoned after they successfully memorized the Quran. Of those pardoned, 15 were released entirely, and one prisoner had his death sentence reduced to 15 years imprisonment.

Effectively, this is time off for good behavior, and entirely discretionary. At present, the policy of Quranic reprieve is more de facto than de jure; there is no law on the books in Iran specifying sentence reduction for memorizing the Quran. In reality, the decision on who among the hufaaz (a term used by modern Muslims for those who’ve memorized the entire Quran) receives a pardon may depend on a variety of factors, namely the nature of the crime and the political will of the authorities.

Iran's Evin prison (Wikipedia/Ehsin Iran)

Iran’s Evin prison 

For example, convicted rapists and political saboteurs probably have less chance of gaining their freedom than burglars or even murderers whose crimes involved no distinct political motive. According to the International Federation for Human Rights, the following crimes are punishable by death in Iran: murder, rape, child molestation, sodomy, drug trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and treason.

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006. Iranian police detained 70 people at a demonstration in favour of women's rights, the judiciary said on Tuesday, adding it was ready to review reports that the police had beaten some demonstrators. - RTXOQWJ

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran’s Evin prison June 13, 2006. Iranian police detained 70 people at a demonstration in favour of women’s rights, the judiciary said on Tuesday, adding it was ready to review reports that the police had beaten some demonstrators. – RTXOQWJ

Iran isn’t the first country to toy with the idea of allowing hufaaz a chance at escaping punishment for their crimes. The governments of Kuwait, the UAE and the Gaza Strip have all cut offenders a break provided they can recall at least some of the Quran’s 114 verses from memory. The late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Ibn Rashid Al Maktoum, implemented a scaled system whereby the sentence reduction was linked to the amount of Quranic text that a prisoner was able to memorize: Convicts could reduce their sentence by up to 20 years for memorizing the entire Quran, but they could also receive lesser reductions for just memorizing parts of the book. The extent of a prisoner’s Quranic memorization is usually tested by asking that prisoner to recite the text aloud.

It may seem baffling to Westerners that a little pious recollection could earn a murderer’s freedom, but for Iran’s politicos the reasoning is clear. First, memorizing the Quran verbatim is no easy task, so only a tiny minority will ever achieve it…

Read the rest…

Vocativ


4 Comments on “On Iran’s Death Row? Memorize the Quran and Win Your Freedom”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet If ever there were a time to find your way off death row in Iran, it’s right now. Judicial […]

  2. […] On Iran’s Death Row? Memorize the Quran and Win Your Freedom (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]


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