Iran presidential favorite backed mass executions, ‘had no mercy’

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International specifically identified Raisi as one of the key backers of the mass executions.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The frontrunner in Iran’s presidential race was part of a “death commission” which facilitated mass executions of political dissidents, Iranian activists told AFP.

Ebrahim Raisi, 60, is expected to be declared Iran’s newest president after elections in the Islamic Republic are tallied on Friday.

On the heels of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the nation’s long-ruling Shah, Raisi became a major player in the new Sharia-based government.

During his time as deputy prosecutor of Tehran in 1985, activists say that Raisi was a member of a so-called “death committee” which sentenced political dissidents – largely from the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) — to death, usually without a trial.

“Raisi is a pillar of a system that jails, tortures, and kills people for daring to criticize state policies,” Haid Ghaemi, the executive director of the New-York based Centre for Human Rights in Iran, told AFP.

“Instead of running for president, he should be tried in an impartial court,” he said.

While Raisi denies being personally involved with the wave of 1988 executions in which 4,000 to 5,000 people were put to death, he has openly said that the killings were justified.

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In 2020, UN envoys demanded that the Iranian government investigate the killings, saying that the “the situation may amount to crimes against humanity.”

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International specifically identified Raisi as one of the key backers of the mass executions.

“Raisi’s only place is in the [defendant’s] dock, not the presidency,” Shadi Sadr, executive director of London-based NGO Justice for Iran, told AFP.

“The mere fact he is currently the head of judiciary and running for president demonstrates the level of impunity that the perpetrators of the heinous crimes enjoy in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” she added.

Reza Shemirani, a former political prisoner, said at a human rights conference last week that Raisi was directly involved in sentencing dissidents to death.

“When I entered the death commission I saw Raisi… a white shirt and Revolutionary Guards uniform,” Shemirani said, adding that Raisi was the most “active member of the commission.”

Raisi “made the utmost effort to execute everyone,” Shemirani testified.

“He had no mercy.”