Some religious “sources of emulation” (known as marja’e taqlid) in Qom have once again challenged opinions expressed by the mullahs’ Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, about the regime’s attempts to obtain forced confessions in prison.
In the midst of widespread international outrage over the mullahs’ gross human rights violations, Khamenei had sought to defend the regime’s record of obtaining forced confessions and had personally made claims such as, “Whatever the accused says about themselves in courts [as a confession] is permissible” and “the argument that it would not be permissible to accept a confession in court is worthless.”
Khamenei’s remarks, which were made last year, were immediately rebuffed as illegitimate and invalid by Qom’s senior religious leaders, including Mr. Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
More recently, Hossein Vahid Khorasani, another source of emulation in Qom, said at a religious sermon that, “The confession of someone who is behind bars is not credible. A judge who bases his judgment on such a confession is not deserving of the title. Even if there is a threat, that confession has no efficacy.”
He relied on an Islamic narration (hadith) and added, “Anyone who confesses after the fact and while in detention should not be punished.”
It is worth recalling that despite Khamenei’s four trips to Qom this year, religious leaders in the city, including Vahid Khorasani, refused to meet him. Khamenei’s rushed visits to the city could not repair the loss of hegemony and authority he has suffered especially after the 2009 mass protests.