Rouhani appoints another perpetrator of 1988 massacre as justice minister

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has appointed Alireza Avai to replace Mostafa Pourmohammadi as justice minister in his new cabinet. While Pourmohammadi was one of the three members of the 1988 massacre “Death Commission” in Tehran, Avai was directly involved in the massacre of political prisoners in Khuzestan Province during the same time period.

At a Paris press conference held on September 6, 2016, the Iranian Resistance exposed Avai’s involvement in the 1988 massacre in Younesco Prison in the city of Dezful, southwest Iran.

Avai served as Dezful’s public prosecutor from 1979 to 1988. During the 1988 massacre he was serving as the city’s Revolutionary Court prosecutor. Following a fatwa issued by then Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, Avai was the main official in charge of executions in Younesco Prison.

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Based on eyewitness reports provided by various former prisoners, Avai ordered “juvenile prisoners under the age of 18 to be executed in groups of two or three, carried out in an empty field near the prison.”

From 2005 to 2014, Avai served as chief of the Tehran Province judiciary and then was appointed as deputy interior minister. In July 2016, Rouhani had him elevated to the head of the president’s Special Inspections Office.

Avai was placed under sanctions by the European Union in October 2011 for his role in human rights violations and direct participation in torturing and massacring political prisoners.

Replacing Pourmohammadi with Avai, one executioner with another, proves that the entire establishment in Iran under the clerics, especially its so-called judiciary, is intertwined with executions, killings and the massacre of political prisoners.

Other justice ministers prior to Pourmohammadi, such as Morteza Bakhtiari and Ismaeel Shoushtari, were all involved in the 1988 massacre.

While most of the members of Rouhani’s new cabinet are holdovers from his first term, he was forced to replace Pourmohammadi with another official in charge of 1988 massacre due to the extensive domestic and international disclosures of Pourmohammadi’s former role as a member of Four-Person Death Committee, which contributed to the widespread public backlash against him.

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The Iranian Resistance and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi have helped to build public awareness of Pourmohammadi’s crimes and have called for him to be brought to justice, through hundreds of statements, disclosures, speeches and in correspondence with various international organizations.

The appointment of Avai, who is very close to Rouhani, once again proves that the hands of all authorities of the regime, from each faction, are stained with the blood of the Iranian people, especially the political prisoners, and that they should be brought to justice for their crimes against humanity.

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