Iran’s president should be arrested when he lands in Switzerland this week and charged with crimes against humanity connected to a 1988 purge of dissidents, according to a legal complaint filed Monday.
The complaint asks Swiss federal public prosecutor Andreas Muller to ensure the arrest and prosecution of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi “over his participation in acts of genocide, torture, extrajudicial executions and other crimes against humanity.”
Raisi is expected to come to Switzerland to participate in the United Nations Global Refugee Forum, which kicks off in Geneva on Wednesday.
The legal complaint against him, seen by AFP, was dated Monday. The prosecutor’s office did not immediately confirm that it had been received.
It was filed by three alleged victims during Iran’s crackdown on dissidents in the 1980s.
Rights groups have long campaigned for justice over alleged extrajudicial executions of thousands of mainly young people across Iranian prisons within a few months in the summer of 1988, just as the war with Iraq was ending.
Those killed were mainly supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK or PMOI), a group banned in Iran that had backed Baghdad during the conflict.
The petitioners behind Monday’s complaint said they could personally identify Raisi as figuring on a commission that sent thousands of jailed opponents to their deaths during the crackdown.
He was serving as the deputy prosecutor general of Tehran at the time, and distinguished himself on the commission as being particularly eager to sentence prisoners to death, the complaint said.
The main petitioner, Reza Shemiriani, was arrested in 1981 and was one of fewer than 150 of the 5,000 prisoners detained in his cell bloc who survived the 1988 purge, according to the complaint.
Raisi had asked him what group he belonged to, and when he said MEK, “his death sentence was assured,” the complaint said, adding that he still does not know why his life was spared.
Instead he remained in prison until 1991, facing daily torture, the complaint said.
The two other petitioners had also been in Iranian prisons in 1988, and said they recognized Raisi “as a member of the death commission,” according to the complaint.