MEK Iran: U.S. slaps new sanctions targeting Two Judges Who Penalize Iranians for Exercising Freedoms of Expression and Assembly
The United States announced new sanctions on Thursday targeting two criminal Judges implementing the Iranian regime’s brutal and bloody crackdown on the protesters. The US Treasury released a press statement concerning the new designation.
“Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two judges presiding over branches of the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Court who, for years, have punished Iranian citizens and dual-nationals for exercising their freedoms of expression or assembly. In many cases, these judges sentenced political prisoners to death. Through their respective branches of the Revolutionary Courts, Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh, both designated today, oversaw the Iranian regime’s miscarriage of justice in show trials in which journalists, attorneys, political activists, and members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minority groups were penalized for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, lashes, and even execution.” The US Treasury press statement reads.
“The United States will not be a bystander to ongoing oppression and injustice in Iran. This Administration is targeting those in the regime who seek to censor protestors, persecute religious minorities, and silence the Iranian people,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States stands with those who participate in peaceful public dissent and protests.”
The U.S. Treasury Department statement reads in part:
Both Salavati and Moghisseh have been sanctioned by the European Union for presiding over a series of show trials following the June 2009 Iranian presidential election, which imposed long prison sentences and several death sentences for political activists and journalists.
Special Rep for Iran Brian Hook: It’s very important…for journalists to be exposing people like Judge Salavati. It is important that the press cover just how many lives he has either ended or ruined by sending them to jail, especially the journalists. #HumanRightsforIran https://t.co/nUxYiI4osE
— Len Khodorkovsky (@MessageFromLen) December 20, 2019
Salavati presides over Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where he has prosecuted and delivered harsh sentences, including many death sentences, to scores of political prisoners, human rights activists, and peaceful demonstrators, earning him the moniker “the Judge of Death.”
Branch 15 is the main venue for the prosecution and harsh sentencing of journalists and internet users. Salavati alone has sentenced more than 100 political prisoners, human rights activists, media workers and others seeking to exercise freedom of assembly to lengthy prison terms as well as several death sentences. For example, following a 2015 demonstration by teachers and their supporters, Salavati sentenced the secretary-general of the Teachers Association of Iran to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security.”
Judges on these Revolutionary Courts, including Salavati, have acted as both judge and prosecutor, deprived prisoners of access to lawyers, and intimidated defendants.
Moghisseh presides over Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where he has overseen countless unfair trails, during which charges went unsubstantiated and evidence was disregarded.
He is notorious for sentencing scores of journalists and internet users to lengthy prison terms. In one case alone, he sentenced eight Iranian Facebook users to a cumulative total of 127 years in prison for charges including anti-regime publicity and insults to religion. Multiple artists, including filmmakers and poets, have also been tried in Moghisseh’s court under charges such as collusion against national security and propaganda against the state allegedly found in their artwork.
In addition to penalizing the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly, Moghisseh has also pressed questionable charges against several members of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority, prosecuting them for supposed participation in activities such as propaganda against the state and assembly and collusion against national security, after they reportedly held prayer and worship ceremonies with other members.
Abdolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghisseh are designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 for engaging in censorship and other activities with respect to Iran on or after July 12, 2009, that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran.
Moghisseh, was also deeply involved in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK members and supporters. He was the governor of Gohardasht Prison at the time of the 1988 massacre and was a member of the “Death Commission” in Tehran. “According to survivors of the 1988 mass executions, Moghisseh was directly and personally involved in the executions of political prisoners in the 1980s. Using the pseudo name “Haj Nasserian” he was a prosecutor in Evin Prison. In the 1988 mass executions, after trials that would last only a few minutes, he would take the prisoners personally to the prison’s boiler room for execution.
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) July 15, 2019
All property and interests in property of those persons designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the individuals designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.