Iran TerrorismItaly puts Iranian on trial for opposition murder

Italy puts Iranian on trial for opposition murder

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Reuters: An Iranian man accused of organizing the 1993 murder of an Iranian opposition leader on behalf of Tehran’s secret services went on trial in absentia in an Italian court on Wednesday. Amir Mansur Bozorgian, whose whereabouts are unknown, is being represented by a court-appointed lawyer. The prosecution says Bozorgian was behind the shooting of Mohammed Hossein Naqdi, a leading member of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which wants to oust Iran’s clerical rulers.
Reuters

By Phil Stewart

ROME – An Iranian man accused of organizing the 1993 murder of an Iranian opposition leader on behalf of Tehran’s secret services went on trial in absentia in an Italian court on Wednesday.

Amir Mansur Bozorgian, whose whereabouts are unknown, is being represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

The prosecution says Bozorgian was behind the shooting of Mohammed Hossein Naqdi, a leading member of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which wants to oust Iran’s clerical rulers.

Naqdi, a former diplomat at Iran’s embassy who defected in 1981, was killed on March 16, 1993, by a gunman who shot at his car in northern Rome and sped away on a motorcycle. It is still not clear who carried out the shooting.

Previous attempts to hold a trial have failed, but the NCRI says this time it has the testimony of Abolqassem Mesbahi, a defector who is believed to have once been a senior intelligence officer in Iran, to draw on.

His testimony in a German trial into the 1992 killing of a group of Iranian Kurds revealed details of murders which the German court concluded were ordered by Iran’s leaders.

Mesbahi told the German court that written orders for murders such as those in Berlin came from the secret Council for Special Operations, chaired by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A lawyer representing the NCRI, Paolo Sodani, said Mesbahi could supply testimony about Naqdi’s killing and that he could identify Bozorgian as an Iranian agent who had been instructed by Tehran to organize the shooting.

Iranian officials in Rome could not be reached for comment and there was no immediate comment from those in Tehran.

Naqdi’s Italian companion, Ferminia Moroni, will also testify. She told Reuters that Naqdi had received multiple death threats before his murder.

“He received lots of threats. Some over the telephone, some personally. I knew that one day something like this could happen,” she said.

Although the United States lists the NCRI as a terrorist organization, the group has provided important information on Iran’s nuclear program, which Washington insists is aimed at making atomic weapons.

After preliminary matters on Wednesday, the trial was adjourned until May 30.

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