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It is past the time to abolish immunity for Iran’s criminals

Written By | May 9, 2022
Anwar Raslan, Iran, Crimes Against Humanity

Anwar Raslan, a former police office sentenced to life in prison for torture – Screen Shot

Until now, criminals in dictatorial regimes have enjoyed immunity for their crimes against humanity. Dictators and tyrants have used the safety margin of “national sovereignty” to commit crimes against humanity without fear of reprisal. However, the historic decision of two courts, one in Germany, and one in Sweden, to sentence the Syrian torturer Anwar Raslan to life imprisonment is changing that.  The Swedish court prosecutor also sought life imprisonment for Hamid Noury, accused of direct involvement in the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners, massacring between 2,800 to 3,800 Iranians.

Thus, the fortress of “national sovereignty” had collapsed, and the hands of justice could pursue them outside their territories and bring them to justice.

These historic decisions result from nations that have paid a heavy price with the blood and suffering of fighters and activists for freedom and justice. Nine months ago, the mothers and families of the massacred prisoners gathered in front of the Swedish court.

The world has witnessed the arrests, trials, and convictions of former leaders and executioners.

From former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, those prosecuted. However, recent decisions of the German court and Swedish prosecutor were that the verdict was not against the perpetrators of a government but against a government official who is still in power. This means that the abuse of the umbrella of “sovereignty” and the immunity of government officials is no longer a haven for criminals. Instead, judges in one country can prosecute perpetrators in another state for their crimes.

This path taken by human rights and oppressed nations in pursuit of their rights over the past few decades proves the truth of the late Martin Luther King Jr.  King said that the curve of history is slowly but surely moving toward justice. But that cannot be achieved, and some people must pave that path with their blood and sacrifice.

The Iranian Movement for Justice for the Massacred Prisoners

Led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian resistance, The Movement took a big step to make known the 1988 massacre of 30,000 prisoners, murdered in silence behind the thick and high walls of the prison. The German court’s historic verdict against a senior official of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime results from the testimonies of dozens of survivors. (Iran: Goudarzi’s Accounts of 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners)

The decision of the German court and the Swedish prosecutor general is a message to the mullahs’ regime, for whom there is no margin of safety outside Iran. All perpetrators of the massacre of political prisoners and crimes against humanity in the 1988 prisoner massacre should be concerned.

The principle of universal jurisdiction has allowed the Swedish justice to prosecute one of the perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

Unfortunately, some countries refuse to do so, mainly for economic reasons. We must not sacrifice economic interests for justice and prosecution of perpetrators. In the last decades, terrorism has crossed borders and become so international that even European countries have not escaped it, but enforcing responsibility for these heinous crimes has not yet become global. Moreover, not all states use the principle of universal jurisdiction to fight terrorism and crimes against international humanitarian law.

Although, we reach world peace and security by applying this legal principle universally.

On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, the mullahs’ Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian met with the Belgian Foreign Minister.

Assadollah Assadi is the terrorist diplomat sentenced to 20 years in prison for plotting a bombing attack against Iranian resistance leader Maryam Rajavi at the annual gathering of the Iranian resistance in Paris. Fars News Agency, a supporter of the Revolutionary Guards, says the Foreign Ministry website reported, “(Amir-)Abdollahian explained our country’s positions and views in this regard to his Belgian counterpart.”

On the same day, Amir-Abdollahian met with the Swedish foreign minister to discuss Hamid Noury, one of the victims of the 1967 massacre. Amir-Abdollahian said that it was unacceptable for relations between the two countries to be targeted by the mujahideen. (Foreign Ministry website, February 19, 2022). Amir-Abdollahian was a member of the Quds Force and was a cabinet minister of Ebrahim.

According to Amnesty International, Raisi should be “investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture. Raisi ‘s role is a grim reminder of the impunity that reigns supreme in Iran” instead of serving as president.

The UN rapporteur also called for an investigation into President Ebrahim Raisi’s massacre of political prisoners, most of whom were mujahideen.

Just before the Second World War, politicians and heads of state used the policy of appeasement with Hitler to try to prevent the Second World War.

While making many concessions, they thought that they could avoid the war and the killings by this means.

But there was both war and massacre.

History is repeating itself in the case of Iran.

The heads of state and politicians seem to think that by giving the regime a lot of concessions in forty years, they can prevent it from building the atomic bomb or terrorism. But, on the contrary, the experience of these forty years should have made these politicians understand for this regime to give up the bomb or regional influence is impossible, except in absolute weakness and a step towards overthrow.


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About the Author:

Hamid Enayat is an Iranian political analyst and freelance writer based in Europe.

Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an independent Iranian political analyst and writer based in Europe.