The Islamic Republic Prosecutor-General denied on Monday, June 24, that the lawsuit against a prominent Quran reciter accused of child abuse has been reopened.
Hours earlier, an outspoken member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeqi had twitted that "some of the complainants in the legal case against Saeed Toosi have requested the reopening of his case, and their request has been approved."
Responding to Sadeqi's tweet Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri demanded, "What is Mr. Sadeqi's source?"
The judiciary's official website, Mizan, also quoted Montazeri as saying, "We have never said such a thing. We do not confirm it. You'd better ask Mr. Sadeqi about it."
Mohammad Tousi, publicly known as Saeed Toosi (or Tousi), 49, is a prominent Iranian Quran reciter and teacher who recites Quran at state events attended by senior officials, including the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was accused in 2017 by some of his former students of sexual molestation and rape.
In October 2017, VOA's Persian Service shed light on Toosi's case in which he was accused of sexually abusing nineteen of his underage Qur'an students over the past years. It is not known whether the charges included sodomy, which could carry the death penalty in the Islamic Republic.
The plaintiffs claimed at the time that complaints made through legal channels were covered up or ignored by the authorities to protect the reputation of the Iranian government.
Toosi, for his part, issued a denial statement rejecting all of the claims, which he called "total lies". The allegations were "aimed at discrediting the state's religious foundations and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei," Toosi maintained. He also insisted that he had never engaged in "such sins" and "actions incompatible with chastity."
However, despite convincing documents published by the accusers on social media, the justice department acquitted Toosi in February 2018.
In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda, two of the plaintiffs have asserted that after a direct intervention by Ali Moqaddam, who is in charge of Ayatollah Khamenei's communication affairs, the head of the judiciary and Tehran's Prosecutor-General decided to shelve the case against the prominent Quran reciter.