Saturday , 25 September 2021

Iran Human Rights: Attending Raeisi’s Inauguration is to Turn a Blind Eye to Crimes Against Humanity

Iran Human Rights (IHR)- Ebrahim Raeisi’s inauguration as the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be take place tomorrow, August 5. Some countries have sent representatives to attend the ceremony.

Recalling that Ebrahim Raeisi stands accused of crimes against humanity in the 1988 prison massacre and in gross of violation of human rights in the subsequent years, Iran Human Rights reminds the international community’s officials attending, of their moral duty to take seriously such grave crimes and distance themselves from those alleged to have committed them.

IHR Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “To attend the inauguration of Ebrahim Raeisi is to legitimise the rule of an individual accused of committing crimes against humanity. While Raeisi is being sworn in, one of his subordinates is standing trial for his role in the 1988 massacre in Sweden. We urge officials to demand that a criminal be prosecuted in international courts instead of attending his inauguration.”

Ebrahim Raeisi who will be taking office as the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has previously held posts such as the Head of Judiciary (7 July 2018-1 July 2021), Chief Prosecutor (23 August 2014-3 April 2016), First Deputy Head of Judiciary (27 July 2004-23 August 2014) and the Tehran Prosecutor in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ebrahim Raeisi served on a four-person commission, known as the “death commissions,” during the 1988 prison massacre of political prisoners. Based on an order by the Founder and then Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, commissions were formed across the country and were responsible for the execution of several thousand political prisoners in the summer of 1988. The prisoners, many of whom had been tried and were serving their prison terms or at the end of their terms, went through very short interviews (often just one question) with the death committee, who ruled whether they should be executed or not.

According to different sources, the death committees were responsible for the executions of 5,000 to 30,000 political prisoners that summer across Iran. Raeisi served on the death commission responsible for the Tehran region, where the highest number of political prisoners were held. The 1988 extrajudicial prison massacre of political prisoners is considered by many distinguished lawyers and rights organisations as crimes against humanity, and as ongoing crimes against humanity by Amnesty International in 2018.

Ebrahim Raeisi’s role in human rights violations is not limited to the massacre. As the First Deputy Head of Judiciary, he was also involved in the repression that followed the 2009 post-electoral protests, including the mass-arrest of thousands of activists, many of whom were subjected to torture and sentenced to long prison terms. Raeisi publicly defended the trials and executions of Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani who were executed on 28 January 2010 for their involvement in the protests. He insisted they were arrested in connection with the protests, while they had been arrested several months prior.

During his time as the Head of Judiciary, there was a sharp rise in the number of “political” executions. At least two people arrested in the aftermath of the nationwide protests were executed on trumped-up murder charges (Mostafa Salehi and Navid Afkari), one journalist kidnapped and executed for running a dissident news outlet (Ruhollah Zam) and one Kurdish political prisoner executed by firing squad – a rarely used method since the 1980s (Hedayat Abdullahpour). Additionally, for the first time in at least the last two decades, one person was executed after being arrested for alcohol consumption for the fourth time.

Referring to Ebrahim Raeisi’s record of gross human rights violations and serious allegation of committing crimes against humanity, Iran Human Rights calls on international officials to refrain from attending Ebrahim Raeisi’s inauguration if invited and to change their response should they have already accepted the invitation.