A long-standing child sexual abuse scandal that reaches the inner circle of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows no sign of abating despite the judiciary’s apparent reluctance.
Several relatives of the students who filed a lawsuit against teacher Saeed Toosi, one of Iran’s best-known Quran reciters, have written a letter to 16 MPs asking for help in seeking justice, said Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi in an interview with pro-reformist daily Sharq on January 30.
Tousi is believed to be a close companion of Khamenei’s and his favorite Quran reciter, to the extent that he was also assigned to train Khamenei’s son, mid-ranking cleric Mojtaba.
The relatives had learned that an unknown judge secretly ruled in favor of Toosi, letting him off the hook. They then appealed to members of parliament.
After his own investigation, Sadeghi confirmed on January 26 that the Appeals Court had acquitted Toosi, who had been charged with spreading corruption and obscenity and sentenced to four years by a lower court.
Sadeghi said that unfortunately other MPs were not taking the families’ plea for help seriously.
“They say they don’t have time to look into such cases; therefore, my duty toward the people of my constituency has become much heavier than before,” he said.
Sadeghi disclosed that the fathers of two victims attended a session of the parliament’s Principle 90 Commission two weeks ago and asked for help in bringing Toosi to justice.
Based on the Sharq report, the fathers also met with the deputies for parliamentary affairs of the Islamic Propagation Organization and the judiciary.
“Two weeks ago, the families [of the victims] contacted us and said the court had issued its verdict,” Sadeghi said. “They were shocked and astonished. We followed it up and interestingly found out that, while the file was not at the Appeals Court, the judge had indeed issued a verdict.”
Sadeghi previously tried to help the families of Toosi's victims by publicizing the parliament's involvement with the issue.
In October 2016, Voice Of America’s Persian service shed light on the case, in which Toosi was accused of sexually abusing 19 of his prepubescent Quran students (four plaintiffs have been confirmed). It is not yet known whether the charges include homosexual rape, which can carry the death penalty.
The anonymous plaintiffs claimed their legal complaints were deliberately covered up or ignored by the authorities to protect the reputation of the regime.
Toosi issued a denial rejecting the allegations, which he called “total lies.” The claims were “aimed at discrediting the state’s religious foundations and Khamenei," he maintained. He also insisted he had never engaged in "such sins" and "actions incompatible with chastity."
Referring to the announcement, Sadeghi said, “It appears the child-molesting Quran reciter is enjoying the support of individuals who have infiltrated the supreme leader’s office.”
Retaliating to such comments, in an interview with EnsafNews, Toosi denied there had been any influence behind his acquittal.