Iranians call for charges against top cleric receiving treatment in Germany

Shima Silavi

Published: Updated:

Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office is examining whether to bring charges against a senior Iranian cleric who has strong ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and who is currently receiving medical treatment in Germany.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office confirmed on Tuesday that they have received a complaint filed by a former German lawmaker against Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

Thanks to a leak, Iranian activists and opposition in Germany discovered late last year that Shahroudi, who was chief justice of Iran between 1999 and 2009 and currently the chairman of The Expediency Discernment Council, is receiving medical treatment in the German city of Hanover. During his time as chief justice, Shahroudi sentenced underage youth to execution and ordered forced confessions.

Hundreds of Iranians in Germany gathered in front of the hospital last Saturday and called for his arrest. On Sunday, Mina Ahadi, the organizer of the campaign to arrest Shahroudi said: “We have already filed a complaint, which means currently there is a case on the table of Germany’s prosecutor”.

According to Ahadi, “a large group of German figures are supporting this campaign and in coming days there will be press conference to discuss the matter further”.

According to a German politician from Green Party, shahroudi is responsible for the execution of 2000 people and according to German laws diplomatic immunity does not include him. And at the moment we are studying the complaints brought against him.

Human rights violations

The fateful Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was adopted in October 2015 by P5+1 and Islamic Republic of Iran in the midst of wide protests by Iranian human rights activists.

One of the main reasons for opposing this deal by the Iranian human and civil rights activists was the total disregard of P5+1 countries of the human rights violations committed by Iranian officials, 87 of whom are currently on EU sanction list for human rights crimes.

As expected by activists, excluding the human rights file from negotiation table and signing of (JCPOA) without imposing conditions or receiving any guarantee from the Iranian side in regard to dire and wide spread human rights violations, will give the Iranian government more freedom to suppress the people. 12 days into protests in Iran and evidence on the ground shows that the speculation by human rights activists was to the point.

Federica Mogherini, the current High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs published one paragraph Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the situation in Iran in which stated:

“The European Union is closely following the ongoing demonstrations in Iran, the increase of violence and the unacceptable loss of human lives. For the EU, human rights have always been a core issue in our relationship with Iran. Peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression are fundamental rights that apply to every country, and Iran is no exception. In the last days, we have been in touch with the Iranian authorities. In the spirit of frankness and respect that is at the basis of our relationship, we expect all concerned to refrain from violence and the right of expression to be guaranteed, also in light of the statements made by the Iranian Government. The European Union will continue to monitor the situation.”

This declaration was published on Jan. 2 and since European Union has refrained from approaching the matter until earlier this week when German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told ZDF TV in Berlin that “together with the EU’s foreign policy chief [Federica Mogherini], we agreed to invite the Iranian foreign minister, if possible next week”.

On Thursday, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected to visit Brussels. As EU monitors and follows the unfolding events in Iran , the families of detained protesters have been camping outside Evin notorious prison in Tehran for days calling for the release of their relatives.

Iranian activists in Europe have scheduled two protests for both Wednesday and Thursday in Schuman square which is at the heart of Europe decision making institutions in protest to Zarif’s visit to support the protesters in Iran .

Germany, similar to France, has described the recent nationwide protests as “domestic conflicts”. And in the light of no condemnation by European officials for the killing of 50 protesters, three of which were death under torture and above 3,700 detainees in a span of two weeks, and lack of support for protesters who took the street to protests against corruption, poverty and Iran’s foreign intervention in neighboring countries there are no guarantees that Zarif’s visit and meeting with EU officials will have desirable outcomes for the Iranian protesters inside or outside of Iran.