MEK Iran: Convicted Murder Pardond
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), reported that on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Court acquitted former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi of his role in three homicides that provoked widespread outrage during government crackdowns during the 2009 protests.
Saeed Mortazavi of his role in crackdowns protests
Mortazavi drew special attention from world powers and human rights activists after Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was attacked, raped, and killed in Evin Prison in 2003 for capturing detainees’ loved ones marching outside the same facility.
Following the incident, many people have called for Mortazavi to be detained if he comes into contact with Western law enforcement officers. In 2006, then-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the media, “We’re calling to the international community to utilize all manner of legislation available to imprison this individual and have him face justice.”
Mortazavi was found guilty of at least three cases of death
However, there is no indication that Mortazavi’s request was ever in jeopardy of being accepted by the international community. This was due to his thorough foreign trip preparation and the Iranian regime’s apparent willingness to defend him for years following the Kazemi catastrophe.
After the marches, which were sparked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election as a political ally, this appeared to change.
This is not to say that Mortazavi’s protection was immediately revoked; rather, he became a target of factional conflicts, with his opponents assisting in his detention in February 2013 and friends like Ahmadinejad assuring his release the next day.
Death by torture during the 2009 protests
After a 2011 investigation by the Iranian parliament, Mortazavi was convicted of at least three incidents of death by torture during the 2009 protests, but the legal process took years before he was finally convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in 2017.
Based on Mortazavi’s case, a preexisting relationship with the ruling system appears to be one mitigating element that does impact the judiciary’s decisions. This notion was reinforced in the months after Mortazavi’s conviction, when he went missing rather than go to prison to begin serving his sentence, and suffered no additional penalty. After being detained in April 2018, he served only 17 months of his two-year sentence before being released in September 2019.
Widespread revolt in November 2019
The timing of the release was fortunate, as it came just two months after Iran’s worst-ever crackdown on opposition began. In reaction to a widespread revolt in November 2019, regime officials opened fire on crowds of protestors, killing around 1,500 people.
They also made several of the arrests around the country, forcing the courts to undertake a months-long campaign of systemic torture that impacted tens of thousands of individuals.
Reuters confirmed in a special report on December 23, 2019, about the deadly crackdown on November nationwide protests in Iran the death toll of 1500 that was announced by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) on December 15, 2019.
Mortazavi was a vocal supporter of Ebrahim Raisi
Mortazavi was a vocal supporter of Ebrahim Raisi’s presidential campaign in 2017, which he lost to Hassan Rouhani. Mortazavi referred to the upcoming Raisi administration as his “dream” for the Islamic Republic, emphasizing the common bond that exists among Iranian authorities committed to the brutal suppression of dissent.
Historical human rights atrocities
Regrettably, the European Union and its member states have done little to show sympathy with those fighting for freedom and democracy. The regime’s inattention to Iran’s domestic unrest grows more fatal with each new announcement of support for both present and historical human rights atrocities.
Mortazavi’s acquittal should emphasize the importance of that action, as the Supreme Court’s decision serves no purpose other than to provide the green light for even greater repression of dissent.