Mohsen Alizadeh is an Assistant Professor in criminal justice at Montclair State University in New Jersey and a former practicing lawyer in Iran. He discusses the role of shari’a in the Iranian criminal justice system.
Qajar Dynasty (1979-1925 CE) - Played a major role in transplanting western ideas of law to the Persian system
Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979) – Adopted the French Napoleonic Code for Iran
Islamic Revolution (1979) – Pahlavi Dynasty overthrown by religious clerics; New law adopts Islamic punishments while keeping many other aspects of western law
Mazdaism – Another name for Zoroastrianism, the indigenous Persian religion
Shari’a - Islamic law, derived from the Qur’an and the teachings and practices of the prophet Muhammad
Ta’azir(at) - criminal sanction not mentioned in the shari’a
Quisa(t) - law of retaliation; “eye-for-an-eye”
Diya(t) - If quisa is not practical, punishment is an amount of money paid to victim (restitution); “blood money”
Hadd/Huddud - Fornication, homosexuality, prostitution, adultery, drinking alcohol, armed robbery (dacoity); requires physical punishment
Primary principles - legal principles which have their base in shari’a, consensus, or reason
Secondary principles – legal principles which have their basis in a decree by a high-ranking clergyman (ayatollah)
Inquisitorial system – Courts act as fact-finders in criminal cases
Alizadeh, M. (2010). Iran. In M. Nalla and G. Newman, Crime and Punishment Around the World. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Bjorken, J. (2004). Iran. In Sullivan, L. and M. Haberfeld, Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Jahangir, A. (2007). The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution [in Persian]. Tehran: Didar Publications. Constitution in English: http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/government/constitution.html
Maftei, C. (2010). The sanctions of the Islamic Criminal Law: Aspects of the criminal law in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Juridical Current, 13(3), pp. 139-148.
Nadjafi, A. (2004). Iranian adult corrections system: Constant evaluation. In Winterdyk, J., Adult Corrections. New York, NY: Monsey.
Tellenbach, S. (2009). Aspects of the Iranian Code of Islamic punishment: The principle of legality and the temporal, spatial, and personal applicability of the law. Criminal Law Review. 9(4), pp. 689-705.