More than eight years after the bloody suppression of the Green Movement in Iran, a former judge and assistant prosecutor-general, Ali Akbar Heidari-Fard, has disclosed new details that could help solve the puzzle of Kahrizak, a notorious detention center near Tehran where at least five young protesters died shortly after being tortured.
Mehdi Karroubi, the former speaker of the Iranian Parliament who is now under house arrest, was the first to blow the whistle on Kahrizak. But, had it not been for the death of a young student, Mohsen, the son of Abdolhossein Rouhalamini, chairman of the Justice and Development Party and a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the crimes at Kahrizak might have never come to light.
In early 2010, the parliament released a report identifying Saeed Mortazavi as "the main culprit in the scandal" surrounding Kahrizak.
Now, his assistant, Heidari-Fard, insists Mortazavi had no role in what happened there.
“I personally issued the order to transfer 140 detained protesters to Kahrizak, and Mortazavi was totally unaware of it,” he said.
In an interview with the reformist daily Sharq, Heidari-Fard also admitted issuing warrants for the arrest of several political activists prior to the controversial presidential election in 2009.
The former judge had hinted even earlier that he was the one who issued the orders, but now he has more directly and unequivocally claimed that his superior had no role.
It is hard to say why someone would strongly implicate himself in such a serious case.
An Iranian journalist who is familiar with legal cases and behind the scenes decisions in Iran, told Radio Farda that it could be because Heidari-Fard is hoping to get some sort of a reprieve from his legal entanglements, by getting the all powerful Mortazavi off the hook.
Radio Farda also found out that Heidari-Fard gave his interview seven months ago, but in the meantime he was sent to prison for his role in the Kahrizak case and it took a long time for the journalist who did the interview to get his consent for publication, from prison.
Heidari-Fard detailed his involvement in legal cases against nearly 5,000 detainees related to the Green Movement, which protested Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
He said that on July 8, 2009, 30,000 security forces were stationed to prevent a protest gathering and demonstration. Seven hundred protesters were detained but nearly 400 were released later the same day.
Heidari-Fard also admitted that the next day he ordered security forces to transfer 140 detainees to Kahrizak, south of Tehran.
Furthermore, the former judge asserted that Mortazavi was on vacation and had no role in transferring the detained protesters to Kahrizak.
Heidari-Fard proudly declared that whatever he had done was intended to defend the regime and the sanctity of the supreme leader’s position.
His revelations come at a time when Mortazavi and another judge, Hassan Zare Dehnavi (known as Judge Haddad) have been convicted alongside Heidari-Fard for their roles in the Kahrizak tragedy. In a trial behind closed doors, all three were barred for life from holding judicial posts and barred for five years from governmental jobs.
Moreover, in a letter to the court of appeals on September 11, 2016, Mortzavi apologized for his actions related to Kahrizak and insisted he was ashamed of what had been done.
Nevertheless, Heidari-Fard told daily Sharq he believes Mortazavi’s repentance is devoid of legal and legitimate impact.
However, Heidari-Fard also seized the chance to apologize for what happened at Kahrizak and to ask the supreme leader’s forgiveness.
He also disclosed for the first time that long before the tragedy in Kahrizak, while Khamenei was leading Friday Prayer and delivering a sermon on June 19, 2009, as many as 1,100 persons were detained, and nearly 800 of them were legally placed behind bars.
Judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohsseni Ejei said on June 20 that there are two legal cases standing against Heidari-Fard and he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for three charges related to one of the two.
In 2012, Heidari-Fard was briefly detained after clashing with the driver of a vehicle and firing into the air at a gas station in the city of Isfahan, central Iran.