Home News Human Rights Federal Complaint Against Iranian Regime President Ebrahim Raisi

Federal Complaint Against Iranian Regime President Ebrahim Raisi

Iranian Resistance NCRI holds a press conference in Washington, D.C., declaring a federal complaint against 1988 Massacre executioner Raisi.

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, the National Council of Resistance of Iran–U.S. Representative Office (NCRI-US) held a press conference in Washington, D.C.

At the conference, Iranian dissidents presented details of a complaint filed in a federal court in Manhattan against the Iranian regime Ebrahim Raisi for his role in the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Plaintiffs include the massacre survivors and victims’ families. According to the NCRI-US, Prof. Steven M. Schneebaum is the counsel for the plaintiffs in the case. Furthermore, the 81st U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey attended the conference, providing details about the lawsuit and its importance.

The complaint comes just weeks before his trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. In recent weeks, Iranians have launched a campaign, urging U.S. authorities to deny granting a visa to Raisi and his delegation due to their involvement in gross human rights violations and terrorism.

In addition to Iranians, many dignitaries joined the campaign, calling on U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to bar Raisi and his accomplices from entering the U.S. and attending the UN General Assembly in September.

Following the foiled terror attempts against former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and 70th Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, American politicians expressed their concerns over the Iranian regime’s ongoing terror attempts and undermining the U.S. national security.

NCRI-US Conference

As the NCRI-US deputy director and the moderator, Alireza Jafarzadeh began the conference and introduced the speakers. “Last week, initiated and facilitated by the NCRI, a legal complaint was filed in the U.S. district court for the southern district of New York under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act against Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian regime’s president, for his crimes against humanity and genocide,” said Jafarzadeh.

“This is a very significant undertaking, it’s a very unique one. It would be the first time that any court is actually building a case, a record, and an investigation about crimes against humanity carried out by the regime’s president Raisi. It’s also the first time that Iran’s regime president Raisi wants to come to a western country, something has been denied so far.”

NCRI-US Rep. Soona Samsami

“Instead of hosting [Iranian regime President Ebrahim] Raisi, the United Nations must hold him accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide. Anything less would be an affront to the principles and values that the United Nations Foundation and Charter is founded on,” said Ms. Samsami.

“During the 1988 massacre, Ebrahim Raisi was the deputy prosecutor and a member of the Death Commission in Tehran. He was therefore personally responsible for sending thousands of the Iranian opposition MEK prisoners to the gallows in Tehran and in the city of Karaj. As judiciary chief, Raisi personally oversaw the murder of at least 1,500 innocents crying for freedom during the November 2019 uprising.”

The 81st U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey

“Today we have occasion to mark yet another landmark milestone of sorts in the long career of Ebrahim Raisi, the filing of a complaint by some of the victims and relatives of the victims of the campaign of torture and execution that he helped carry out in Iran in 1988,” said Gen. Mukasey.

“Raisi here has been sued as an individual but the acts he committed were committed in his official capacity as someone exercising powers given to him by the government of Iran, indeed powers he exercised in carrying out that 1988 fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini himself.”

“Raisi has not denied his participation and in 2018 he was quoted as saying that the murders committed under the direction of the Death Commissions were ‘one of the proud achievements of the system.’”

1988 Massacre Survivor Sheila Neinavaie

“I was arrested three times and spent a total of eight years in various Iranian prisons. I was first arrested in November 1981, by the Iranian regime security forces when I was barely 15 years old at my home in Tehran, and taken to the notorious Evin prison, simply for distributing the literature of the main Iranian opposition movement, the MEK,” said Mrs. Neinavaie.

“On August 15, 1988, I was taken to the “death corridor,” and appeared before the Death Commission in Evin, where I sat in a single chair in front of the four-member committee, one of which was the current president of the regime, Ebrahim Raisi,” she shared her experience about the kangaroo trials held by Raisi and other criminal authorities. “I was among the very few survivors. After returning to my solitary confinement, I realized that most of the people I knew in the prison had been hanged, and the prison, which was full when I entered it, seemed deserted and empty.”

“When I was escaping Iran, I felt the responsibility of echoing the voice of my fellow cellmates and those who did not survive.”

1988 Massacre Victim’s Family Member Ahmad Hassani

“My brother, Mahmoud, born in Iran in 1960, was a student at Tehran University when arrested in 1981 at the age of 21, and was sentenced to ten years in prison for expressing support for the main Iranian opposition group, the MEK,” said Mr. Hassani. “While in prison, he was tortured and abused physically and mentally.”

“In 1988 we were hoping that he would be released soon since he had already served seven years of his sentence. But we were shocked to find out that he had been hanged during the 1988 massacre, like 30,000 others, after refusing to renounce his support for the MEK and the ideal of Iran’s freedom before the Death Commission.”

Plaintiffs’ Counsel Prof. Steven M. Schneebaum

“It is beyond doubt that thousands of political prisoners were killed in Iran, and countless others were tortured, in the summer of 1988. This was, of course, no random act: it was the direct result of a fatwa – a religious order – of Ayatollah Khomeini, intended to eliminate opponents of his theocratic rule, and especially, supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the MEK,” said Prof. Schneebaum. “The massacre has been reported on and denounced by Amnesty International, by various agencies of the United Nations, and by our own Department of State.”

“For a crime of this magnitude, there has to this date been no justice. This lawsuit in the United States, brought by these plaintiffs against this defendant, to be heard by a United States federal judge, is a small step toward that goal. My clients hope that it will be some solace to others around the world who were, or whose loved ones were, victims of the regime’s lawlessness, crimes against humanity, and terrorism, to know that, here in America, the rule of law is still alive and well, and that no one, no matter his title, stands above it,” the counsel for plaintiffs concluded.

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