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IRAN: USCIRF Uncovers Testimony Alleging that Three "Hanging Judges" are Responsible...

MAY 26, 2010

IRAN: USCIRF Uncovers Testimony Alleging that Three "Hanging Judges" are Responsible for Bulk of Injustices Against Peaceful Political Dissenters

WASHINGTON, D.C.-During the U.S. Commission on International Freedom's (USCIRF) Washington, DC press conference yesterday on Iran, expert panelists disclosed information alleging that three revolutionary court judges in Iran are responsible for the vast majority of unfair and harsh sentences handed down to political prisoners and other "security" detainees. Such prisoners include innocent journalists, human rights activists, ethnic and religious minorities, peaceful protesters, and others.

"The information we heard indicates that three Iranian judges-Judge Moghiseh, Judge Salavati, and Judge Pirabbassi-are known for conducting swift trials and imposing lengthy prison terms, as well as the death penalty, without any semblance of due process," said Commissioner Nina Shea, who moderated yesterday"s USCIRF panel on Iran. "We call on the Obama Administration to investigate these claims and, if these judges are found to be guilty of such atrocious abuses, that the United States impose targeted sanctions on them and their families without delay, and to persuade our allies to do the same."

One of the panelists, Roxana Saberi, explained that she was sentenced last year to eight years in prison on bogus espionage charges by Judge Moghiseh. Her sentence was later reduced on appeal and she was freed after 100 days in Evin prison. Panelists also identified Judge Moghiseh as the judge presiding over the case of the seven Baha'i leaders, in prison for more than two years now, who have multiple, baseless capital charges pending against them.

"We reiterate our recommendation calling on the U.S. government to identify those Iranian government officials responsible for severe human rights and religious freedom violations, and subsequently impose travel bans and asset freezes" said Commissioner Shea. "The U.S. government should urge European and other allies to do the same."

"The U.S. government and international community must do more to raise awareness and bring to account those Iranian officials responsible for years of egregious abuses," said Ms. Shea.

In its recently released annual report , USCIRF recommended that the administration should take prompt action against Iranian officials, including the following.

The U.S. government should:

  • invoke the statutory provisions of IRFA by identifying Iranian government agencies and officials responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom, including but not limited to:
    • General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps;
    • Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, Minister of Interior;
    • Heydar Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence;
    • Sadegh Ardeshir Larijani, Head of the Judiciary;
    • Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Prosecutor General and former Minister of Intelligence;
    • Hossein Taeb, Head of the Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and former head of the Basij militia;
    • Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Head of the Basij militia;
    • Saeed Mortazavi, Deputy Prosecutor General and former Prosecutor General of the Islamic Revolutionary Court; and
    • Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, Head of the National Police.

  • bar from entry into the United States and freeze the assets of Iranian government officials identified as having engaged in particularly severe religious freedom violations, including but not limited to those listed above, and, where appropriate, immediate family members, and press our European allies to do the same.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF"s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner contact Tom Carter, Communications Director at 202-538-2044or tcarter@uscirf.gov.