While thousands of Iranians continue to take part in widespread anti-government protests in Iran, Germany has come under criticism for offering a safe haven to Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, former chief justice of Iran, also known as the “prosecutor of death,” to obtain medical treatment.
Shahroudi was the chief justice of Iran from 1999 until 2009, a bloody decade where thousands of political prisoners were arrested and tortured, and hundreds more executed. Also under his reign as the chief justice of Iran adolescents including Behnoud Shoajai were executed shortly after turning 18, for alleged crimes they had committed while they were young offenders.
Perhaps the most notorious case under the watch of Shahroudi was the arrest, rape, and murder of Iranian Canadian photo journalist Zahra Kazemi in Evin Prison. Kazemi had been arrested in July of 2003 for taking pictures of families of political prisoners gathered outside of the Evin Prison. She was arrested, tortured, raped and died 19 days after her arrest, as a result of the torture that was inflicted on her. Two years after Kazemi’s murder, Shahram Azam a physician who had been employed with Iran’s Defence Ministry in 2003, and had examined Kazemi’s body four days after her arrest, stated that he had seen clear signs of torture including brutal rape, skull fracture, broken fingers and missing fingernails, severe abdominal bruising and flogging on the legs.
Shahroudi is currently the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, an administrative assembly whose members are chosen by the “Supreme Leader” Khamenei. This assembly serves as advisor to Khamenei, as well as being responsible for resolving conflicts between the Majlis (Parliament) and the Security Council. Shahroudi is an extremely powerful player within the Islamic Regime, and many believe he will become the successor to Khamenei.
Given Shahroudi’s dark past and present Germany’s Angela Merkel has come under criticism for opening its doors to this Islamic Dictator and providing medical treatment.
Shahroudi is currently being treated in the city of Hanoufer reportedly for a brain tumour.
Germany and Iran are trade partners and in 2016 Germany’s exports to Iran totaled 2.5 billion Euros. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that Germany has taken a soft stand against the dictatorship in Iran, and was one of the very last European Union countries to make a statement about the current anti-government protests in Iran.
On January 1st, 2018 German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel “appealed” to the Islamic Regime to respect the rights of the protesters and to allow them to raise their voice peacefully, while asking both sides to refrain from violence, without condemning the brutal force used against protesters by the regime.
Meanwhile, Iranians residing in exile in Germany have organized extensive protests in front of the hospital where Shahroudi is being treated, and they have referred his case to the public prosecutor in the hope of criminal charges being laid against Shahroudi for his role as chief justice for a decade under the brutal regime in Iran.
The great question remains, however, why did Germany allow Shahroudi, the prosecutor of “death” to enter Germany in the first place and will Merkel ever change Germany’s foreign policy and stand beside the freedom-seeking people of Iran?
Context: Over 3700 Iranians have been arrested already in Iran as a result of the protests. This number is from an Iranian MP is likely far below what likely has occurred.