Ebrahim Raisi: Amnesty demands probe into Iran’s next president over ‘Death Commission’
- Amnesty said Ebrahim Raisi had been a member of the “Death Commission” that forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of political prisoners.
Amnesty International on Saturday said that Iranian ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi, who was declared the winner of the Islamic republic’s presidential election, should be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity. Raisi is set to take over from moderate Hassan Rouhani in August and his loyal supporters argue that the former head of the judiciary is Iran’s best hope for standing up to the West and bringing relief from a deep economic crisis exacerbated by coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and US sanctions.
However, for rights groups, Raisi’s name is associated with the mass executions of Marxists and other leftists in 1988 when he was deputy prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Amnesty International’s secretary-general Agnès Callamard said in a statement that the 60-year-old Iranian leader should have been investigated for the “crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture” instead of being elected as the president of the Islamic republic.
Callamard, who has previously served as the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions for the UN Human Rights Council, said that Raisi had been a member of the “Death Commission” that forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of political prisoners.
“The circumstances surrounding the fate of the victims and the whereabouts of their bodies are, to this day, systematically concealed by the Iranian authorities, amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity,” she added.
Amnesty accused Raisi of presiding over a “spiralling crackdown” on human rights and said that under his watch, the judiciary has granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for “unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women and children and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests...in the aftermath of the nationwide protests of November 2019.”
“We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and ongoing crimes under international law, including by states that exercise universal jurisdiction,” the London-based pressure group added.
Raisi has repeatedly denied playing a role in the mass execution even as he has lauded an order he said was handed down by the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to proceed with the purge. In 2019, Raisi and others were placed on a sanctions list by the United States, citing the executions and other alleged rights abuses. Tehran had dismissed the charges as symbolic.