Hamid Baghaei, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s executive deputy, was freed from detention Wednesday evening and his release became an instant political spectacle.
He was arrested more than two weeks ago, as authorities claimed that he had ignored a summons to appear at court. After his arrest, Baghaei went on a hunger strike and reportedly his health deteriorated.
As he arrived at Ahmadinejad’s office, he greeted Ahmadinejad and many supporters waiting for him on the street. Videos taken from the scene show Baghaei speaking to people surrounding him and calling Iran’s Judiciary and specifically its deputy liars. It also appears that he has lost a lot of weight.
Baghaei dismissed the charges against him and claims made by Judiciary’s deputy head as “lies” and added “we know you’ll be overthrown soon”. The crowd also shouts slogans to back Baghaei’s shocking statement.
Mr. Baghaei, lashing out at Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, deputy of the Judiciary, said, “Mr. Ejei has to answer a lot of questions. I hope the day will come when there is no injustice in the Islamic Republic”.
Such serious accusations against the Judiciary by someone facing prosecution is unprecedented in the Islamic Republic.
The Judiciary, backed by the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei is an all-powerful institution, often acting willfully against opponents and critics of the ruling elite.
It is reported that he was freed on a huge bail of close to $7 million.
Baghaei also told his supporters that his interrogator told him that President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoun took a $20 million bribe from the former CEO of Mellat bank to secure his appointment to the post.
Judicial authorities have previously made a similar accusation against the president’s brother.
As his supporters called him a hero, Baghaei criticized Iran’s treatment of prisoners. “I met a man in our cell who was jailed 13 months earlier, without being allowed to call his wife. Our young people did not shed blood for these corrupt people to come to power”.