By Shamsi Saadati
The US condemned on Tuesday the appointment of a notorious ayatollah, responsible for the deaths of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s, to head Iran’s all-powerful Judiciary.
US State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino tweeted, in both Farsi and English, that the appointment of conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi was a “disgrace”, given that he served on the Tehran Death Committee that sent thousands of political prisoners to the gallows in the ’s judiciary. What a disgrace! The regime makes a mockery of the legal process by allowing unfair trials and inhumane prison conditions. Iranians deserve better!
— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) March 5, 2019
Raisi’s involvement in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners became common knowledge during the 2017 presidential election when Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei backed Raisi as a candidate against incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.
Ultimately, Raisi lost that race, but human rights activists and political observers are worried that Raisi’s new appointment will mean that abuses which are commonplace in the Iranian Judiciary, including ignoring due process of law, allowing secret arrests, detentions without indictments and torture in prison, will only get worse.
Raisi, the former deputy prosecutor of Tehran, quickly rose through the ranks of the Regime for his harsh treatment of anyone who disagreed with the Iranian Regime or broke even non-violent laws.
This culminated in his role during the 1988 massacre, which mainly targeted members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) opposition group, on the fatwa of former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
Khomeini wrote: “As the treacherous [PMOI/MEK] do not believe in Islam and what they say is out of deception and hypocrisy… it is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the [PMOI/MEK], are waging war on God and are condemned to execution”.
He continued: “It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God. Those who are making the decisions must not hesitate, nor show any doubt or be concerned with details. They must try to be most ferocious against infidels. To have doubts about the judicial matters of revolutionary Islam is to ignore the pure blood of martyrs.”
Of course, the MEK’s only crime was speaking out against the Regime’s repression.
Raisi’s appointment as judiciary head by Khamenei was announced on Sunday by judiciary spokesperson, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, and he will take office later this week. The head of the judiciary is appointed for a five-year term that can be renewed.
Raisi, 57, replaces Sadeq Amoli Larijani.