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Source: RFE/RL

Dec 19, 2023

Life Sentence of Former Iranian Official Upheld By Swedish Court

A Swedish Appeals Court on December 19 upheld the life sentence of Hamid Noury, a former assistant prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison in Iran, convicted last year for his role in the execution of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

The executions had been ordered by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and leader of the Islamic republic at the time.

The landmark trial lasted for nine months in Sweden and involved extensive testimonies from over 60 plaintiffs, witnesses, and experts in Islamic jurisprudence and international law.

In a statement, 452 civil and political activists highlighted the ruling as a major victory for the justice movement in Iran.

Activists expressed hope that Noury's conviction is a step toward bringing every perpetrator of human rights violations in Iran to justice, both domestically and internationally.

Khomeini's order, or fatwa, initially targeted members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a militant leftist group that for years was considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Britain, but it eventually included all left-wing opponents of the theocratic regime.

The MKO killed U.S. personnel in Iran during the 1970s and carried out a series of terror attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries in 1992, leading to its inclusion on the lists of terrorist organizations of the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.

In 2013 the group was removed from the list amid efforts by Washington to support it in its fight against the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The Iranian government has never acknowledged the mass executions, nor provided any information about the number of prisoners killed.

The rights watchdog Amnesty International has estimated that 4,500 people were executed, while the MKO places the number at around 30,000. Many of the victims were buried in secret.

Noury's verdict was issued amid ongoing tensions between Iran and Sweden.

The fate of at least two Swedish citizens imprisoned in Iran, Ahmadreza Djalali and Johan Floderus, remains a point of contention.

Many Western governments have accused Iran's regime of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps or as bargaining chips in international negotiations.

Tehran has denied the accusations.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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