NCRI – A distinguished British lawyer sees no basis for designation of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran as a terrorist group. Mark Muller, barrister and vice-chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, speaking to a conference in the House of Lords on November 29, endorsed the declaration by 1,300 British lawyers calling for de-proscription of the PMOI. Full text of his remarks to the conference is as follows:
I am here to express my solidarity with all those who are working for the protection and servicing of human rights within Iran.
I genuinely believe that even with recent events in Iran, there is a new human rights catastrophe unfolding once again in that country. I believe that there is a geo-political crisis unfolding in the region. This is where it all comes together, because it comes together in relation to proscription. I do not have to repeat to this audience the evidence which shows quite categorically that this particular organisation, the PMOI, was proscribed because of a short termist approach to foreign policy where, as an olive branch to Khatami, the PMOI was placed on the list. Unfortunately, it is far more difficult to de-proscribe.
There is presently a crisis at the heart of British foreign policy. The very reason this organisation is proscribed was precisely because Parliament allowed huge discretion to the Home Secretary, to decide which organisations are proscribed and in some sense threaten our foreign policy. Why is it that the terrorism legislation in our Act of Parliament does not recognise the international right to resist force, does not recognise the right to self determination and does not recognise the right to democracy? The reason is that it then gives the Home Secretary the discretion to use that particular legislation politically. Is it any wonder that we are in the position that we are in today when there is no objective criteria for him to exercise that discretion. That is the problem this government faces. There was no evidential basis for the proscription of the PMOI. I urge everyone to support this application to de-proscribe.
I just want to remind this audience of what Jack Straw said when he came to proscribing or failing to de-proscribe the PMOI. He told the PMOI "the Home Secretary has taken full account of the assertion that the Mojahedin is involved in a legitimate struggle against a repressive regime, and has no choice but to resort to armed resistance. He notes too, the claim that armed resistance was concentrated against military bases within Iran only. The Home Secretary does not accept however any right to resort to acts of terrorism whatsoever whatever the explanation." When he talks of acts of terrorism he means the use of force in other words the right to resist oppression.
I want to end just by reminding you of the introduction to the preamble to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which talks of using force as a last resort to resist against tyranny and oppression. What Jack Straw is doing is attempting to prevent the Iranian people from taking up the use of force, precisely because there are no democratic alternatives. It is time that this is reversed so that ordinary people who are subject to atrocious human rights violations, for once have a way in which they can air their dissent. It should start in this country, by allowing oppressed people to gather like this so they can express their legitimate demands and that is why the fight for the de-proscription of the PMOI is a front that not only affects Iranian people, not just politicians and lawyers but ordinary people who want to defeat terrorism across the world and the hypocrisy and injustice of it.