Iran: just when you think that it cannot get worse….Ebrahim Raisi get appointed

April 4, 2019

It’s an Insult:” says human right defender Karim Lahiji about Iran’s new Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi. His predecessor Sadegh Larijani was already a serious problem but this seems worse. [see e.g.: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/02/02/larijani-brothers-iran-attack-un-rapporteur-and-human-rights-defenders/].

Abdolkarim Lahiji worked for decades as a defense attorney in Iran taking on politically sensitive cases involving activists, religious minorities and dissidents.

The appointment by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of a known human rights violator to head the country’s judiciary is a prelude to dark days ahead for human and civil rights defenders, Iranian attorney Abdolkarim Lahiji told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

In a wide-ranging interview, Lahiji, who for decades worked as a prominent attorney and human rights activist in Iran until going into exile in France, discussed the events leading up to Raisi’s appointment to chief justice in early March 2019. Before his appointment, Raisi, 58, held top positions in the country’s judiciary, including Tehran prosecutor and chief prosecutor for the clergy, as well as membership in the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council. In 1988, Raisi served on Iran’s so-called “death commissions,” which were set up shortly after the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) by order of then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who wanted to crush opposition to the state.

Many of the prisoners executed after being interviewed by the inquisition-like commissions set up around the country were supporters of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh (MEK), but communists, members of the Fadaian-e Khalgh and other opposition groups were targeted as well. The estimated 4,000-5,000 prisoners—actual numbers could be higher—who were secretly killed in prisons throughout the country and dumped in mass graves had already been issued prison sentences before they were suddenly sent to the gallows.

Raisi now takes the reigns of the judiciary from Sadegh Larijani, who was chief justice of Iran from August 2009 until March 2019. At least 15 political prisoners died in state custody under Larijani’s watch. All of the cases were closed without fair and unbiased investigations and no one in the judiciary was ever held accountable for these deaths.

Lahiji, who defended political prisoners during Larijani’s rule, discussed what lies ahead for human rights defenders under Raisi. For excerpts of the interview follow the link below:

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2019/04/its-an-insult-human-rights-attorney-condemns-irans-new-judiciary-chief-ebrahim-raisi/

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