FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019
USCIRF Welcomes Sanctions Against Iranian “Hanging Judges” Responsible for Severe Religious Freedom Violations
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the U.S. Department of Treasury’s imposition of sanctions yesterday on two of Iran’s “Hanging Judges”, Judge Abolghassem Salavati and Judge Mohammed Moghiseh, under Executive Order 13846. Both judges have been responsible for miscarriages of justice and severe violations of religious freedom in Iran. USCIRF has long recommended the sanctioning of both judges.
“Today’s designations hold accountable two notorious judges who have regularly flouted Iran’s own laws by imposing unjust prison sentences and denying due process to religious minorities and those asserting their freedom of religion and belief,” said USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “USCIRF applauds these actions and calls on the Treasury Department to impose further targeted sanctions on other Iranian officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.”
“The judges sanctioned today have targeted religious minorities and denied freedom of religion and belief to women, non-believers, the LGBTI community, and peaceful protesters,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin. “Today’s sanctions send a clear message that the United States will continue to stand up for those who are denied their freedoms guaranteed under international law.”
Abolghassem Salavati presides over Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court and Mohammed Moghiseh oversees Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. Both judges have routinely held swift trials and imposed harsh sentences—including extreme prison terms and executions—against Iranian religious minorities.
Since 1999, the U.S. Department of State has designated Iran as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or 202-523-3240.