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Notorious Judge's Appeal Rejected In Tehran

IRAN -- Tehran former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi speaks to the media at a news conference in Tehran, April 19, 2009
IRAN -- Tehran former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi speaks to the media at a news conference in Tehran, April 19, 2009

The family lawyer of Mohsen Rouhalamini, a young man killed behind bars during mass demonstrations surrounding the 2009 Iranian presidential election, says the court of appeal has rejected Saeed Mortazavi's statement of defense.

A notorious hardline judge, Mortazavi was Tehran's prosecutor at the time of the uprising. Based on his orders, hundreds were arrested and incarcerated in various prisons, including Kahrizak Detention Center (KDC), 31 kilometers (about nineteen miles) south of Tehran.

During the 2009 uprising, the KDC was set up to suppress protesters. Established in secret, protesters were tortured there under Mortazavi's watch, causing so much catastrophe that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was eventually forced to shut down the killing center.

"But it was only when 24-year-old Mohsen Rouhalamini, the son of a distinguished conservative figure, was named among those killed that the Iranian authorities were forced to respond," The Guardian reported about the prison in July 2010. "Subsequently, two other victims were identified, Amir Javadifar and Mohammad Kamrani,"

The attorney of Rouhalamini's parents, Mir Majid Taheri, told the Iranian Moj News Agency on Sunday that following the trial on August 11, the court of appeal has now announced that Mortazavi's defense "was rejected by the majority of the judges of Branch 8 of Tehran's 1st Criminal Court."

The courts originally sentenced Mortazavi to five years' imprisonment and permanent dismissal from the judiciary, but his sentence was reduced to two years on appeal, with Mortazavi requesting a retrial to protest his losing his job.

After serving one-third of his jail term, Mortazavi was released in September 2019. In another case concerning financial corruption at Social Security Organization, Mortazavi was also sentenced to lashes for "illegal seizure of state property." Still, he was eventually pardoned by Khamenei.

Immediately after being suspended from serving at the judiciary, the hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed him as the head of the Social Security Organization.

However, Mortazavi had already gained fame in the 1990s as the "Butcher of the Press," when in a series of verdicts, he shut down the so-called pro-reform dailies and placed dozens of journalists behind bars.

According to the Iranian judicial law, Mortazavi can appeal to the Supreme Court of Iran within twenty days after the announcement of his new defense's rejection in the court of appeals.