Iran General NewsIran ex-prosecutor suspended over prison deaths

Iran ex-prosecutor suspended over prison deaths

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AFP: Tehran’s notorious former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and two judges have been suspended over the prison deaths of three anti-government protesters, Iranian newspapers reported Monday, quoting MPs.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Tehran’s notorious former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and two judges have been suspended over the prison deaths of three anti-government protesters, Iranian newspapers reported Monday, quoting MPs.

The Iranian judiciary had earlier this month announced the suspension of three high-ranking officials, paving the way for their trial over the deaths in Kahrizak jail last summer, but did not name them.

Iranian lawmakers in a statement identified the three as Mortazavi and two unnamed judges and said they had been suspended over the deaths of Mohammad Kamrani, Amir Javadifar and Mohsen Ruholamini in Kahrizak jail.

“The suspension of the former prosecutor and two judges accused in the case is comforting,” said 216 lawmakers in a joint statement published in Shargh newspaper.

“The crime in Kahrizak was a bitter incident which broke the heart of the nation and the leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, they said.

Iranian officials have faced major embarrassment over the Kahrizak deaths and grudgingly admitted after months of denial that the three young men had died of injuries inflicted in custody after being arrested for protesting against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June last year.

The centre was shut down in July 2009 on Khamenei’s order following reports of abuse and Mortazavi was removed from his powerful post to serve in a bureaucratic capacity within the judiciary and also to join Ahmadinejad’s government as counter-smuggling chief.

Soon after being removed from the post of Tehran prosecutor, a parliamentary probe found Mortazavi responsible for sending protesters to Kahrizak, a detention centre south of Tehran for dangerous criminals, and demanded he be punished.

Mortazavi’s name has also been cited in the case of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi who died in custody in 2003.

During his six years as Tehran prosecutor and before that as a judge, Mortazavi was responsible for shutting down dozens of reformist publications and jailing journalists.

Ahmadinejad’s re-election, which the opposition rejected as massively rigged, was met with street protests which sparked clashes with security forces in which dozens of people were killed.

In June, a military court sentenced two men to death in connection with the deaths of the three protesters in Kahrizak.

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