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Reporters Without Borders condemn appointment of a criminal as Iran regime’s Chief justice

By INU Staff

INU- Ebrahim Raisi, member of the feared Death Commission appointed by Ruhollah Khomeini in 1988, as well as a Khamenei protégé and former prosecutor general, has been chosen to head Iran’s justice system for the next five years. His March 7th appointment by Iran’s Supreme Leader is an insult to his victims’ families and another blow to judicial independence.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that Raisi, whose crimes against humanity include passing death sentences on thousands of political prisoners who refused to renounce their beliefs in 1988.

These summary executions caused many international human rights organizations and some UN special rapporteurs to criticize Raisi and demand that he be held accountable.

Khomeini’s onetime heir apparent, Hossein Ali Montazeri has been heard on an audio tape describing the executions as “the most terrible crime to have been committed under the Islamic Republic.” He also addressed the commission’s members, saying, “It is you, sirs, who carried it out, and your names will be registered as criminals in Iran’s history.”

Now, one of these “criminals” will head Iran’s judicial system — under which many judges are regarded as guilty of corruption.

Raisi’s judicial system colleagues include Aboughasem Salevati, head of the Tehran revolutionary court’s 15th chamber, and Mohammad Moghiseh, head of its 28th chamber. These men are alleged to be interrogators and torturers at Evin and Hamadan prisons in 1988. As well, these two judges have passed heavy jail sentences on some 100 journalists and citizen-journalists since 2009.

A very alarming assessment of the regime’s press freedom and human rights policies and practices was provided by Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, in report presented last week. Rehman was not allowed to visit Iran. However, UN secretary-general António Guterres released a Human Rights Report on March 8th, that said that representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Iran in 2018, and Iranian officials now say they have invited the High Commissioner herself to make a visit.

“Iran is maneuvering to suppress criticism by not allowing the UN special rapporteur to do an in-country investigation,” said Reza Moini, the head the Iran desk of Reporters without Borders (RSF). “The special rapporteur must be allowed to travel to Iran with High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in order to observe the disastrous human rights and press freedom situation in a country that is one of the world’s five biggest jailers of journalists.”

RSF held a news conference in Paris on February 7th to expose the scope of the lies that the Iranian regime has allegedly orchestrated about judicial persecution in Iran. This new information was leaked via an Iranian justice system file.

The justice system upheld the prison sentences of several members of the Sufi website Majzooban Noor on the day Raisi’s appointment was announced. Mohammad Sharifi Moghadam and Kasra Nouri, members of the editorial committee were sentenced to 12 years in prison, and Sina Entesari, a citizen-journalist was given a seven year sentence.

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