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Efforts Under Way To Have Iranian Human Rights Violator Arrested In Europe

Gholamreza Mansouri, a prosecutor known for ordering the mass arrest of journalists in 2013, took 500,000 in bribes and fled the country. FILE PHOTO

Several efforts are under way by Iranian activists across Europe to have a hardliner Iranian cleric, Judge Gholamreza Mansouri arrested while he is in Europe.

Mansouri who is being prosecuted by an Iranian court on charges of financial corruption and taking 500,000 euros in bribe in Iran, is said to be in Germany.

Iranian activists abroad, as well as Iranian journalists in Tehran have accused Mansouri of taking advantage of his position as a judge to torture some 20 Iranian journalists in 2013 and issuing verdicts that landed them in jail for many years on charges fabricated by Mansouri and his colleagues.

On Thursday June 11, human rights and press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) filed an official complaint with German federal judicial authorities demanding Mansouri's arrest for suppressing and jailing dozens of Iranian journalists.

Mansouri is believed to be in Germany although his multiple entry Schengen visa has been issued by the Embassy of Italy in Tehran according to Iranian sources and the German press. Meanwhile, a clinic where Mansouri has claimed to be receiving medical treatment has denied having such a patient.

The German Foreign Ministry has also denied issuing any visa to the Judge by its embassy in Tehran.

The complaint filed by the RSF says Mansouri has issued imprisonment verdicts for at least 20 journalists in February and March 2013. The RSF appealed to the German prosecutor not to let Mansouri escape justice.

A tweet by the RSF stresses that there should be no amnesty for those who violate human rights.

Meanwhile, Iranian human rights activists in Europe have been also working hard to make sure that Mansuri gets arrested before leaving Germany.

Oxford-Based lawyer Kaveh Mousavi, who has in the past months jailed another Iranian judge in Sweden on charges of crimes against humanity, has appealed to Iranians world over for documentations that would prove the case against Mansouri.

Mousavi wrote in a tweet that two witnesses have already come forward with incriminating evidence and that he is drafting an affidavit on their behalf. However, he wrote that he still needs documented background information about Mansouri including about the case in which he took the family members of an Iranian TV channel owner in Turkey in the 2010s.

Mousavi also noted that any information about the mass arrest of journalists in Iran could prove helpful in the case against Gholamreza Mansouri.

Meanwhile, Shadi Sadr, one of the London-based officials of human rights watchdog Justice for Iran, another organization that is following the case to restore justice about Judge Mansouri, quoted a German publication as having reported that Mansouri may be still in Germany although German authorities have not issued a visa to him.

She also quoted the embassy of Iran in Berlin as having said that Mansouri never reported to the embassy although he had said he would go to the Iranian embassy to facilitate his return to Iran.

The prosecutor’s office in Tehran has said that Mansouri is not likely to return to Tehran for trial as he left his cell phone on in Tehran to mislead security officers for a long time to believe that he had not left Iran. The official added that Mansouri fled Iran one month after Akbar Tabari, the prime suspect in a major ongoing financial corruption case at a Tehran court was arrested in 2019.

Earlier this week, Mansuri released a video on social media saying that he was abroad for medical treatment for a life-threatening case and promising to go to the Iranian embassy to arrange his return to Iran as soon as the borders are opened. However, he did not say where he was.

Cristophe Deloire, the Secretary General of RSF has confirmed in a tweet that "Mansouri is currently in Germany," and the RSF has filed a complaint against him.

He wrote: "RSF Intl. and RSF Germany just filed a complaint against Gholamreza Mansouri, an Iranian judge responsible for the arrest and torture of at least 20 journalists in 2013, who is currently in Germany. The prosecutor must not let him escape."

If arrested, Mansouri's case would be the second success in a year for Iranian human rights and press freedom activists. Last year, Hamid Nobari, a judge involved in the murder of several thousands of Iranian political prisoners in 1988 was arrested in Sweden and is still in jail thanks to extensive efforts by Iranian activists in Europe.