The former prosecutor-general of Tehran, Said Mortazavi, was officially sentenced February 28 to two years in prison for his role in the 2009 deaths of student protestors while at a detention center near the capital.
Mohsen Rouholamini, 25, a computer engineering graduate, was one of the many students arrested while protesting the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. Rouholamini died as a result of severe beatings at the Kahrizak detention center.
Two more young protesters, Mohammad Kamrani and Amir Javadifar, also died after being beaten while in detention at Kahrizak. Javadifar died on July 14, 2009 as he was being transferred from Kahrizak to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Kamrani died two days later in the hospital. All three died from injuries resulting from severe beating, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported.
Another two young men, Ramin Qahremani and Ahmad Nejati Kargar, died shortly after their release from the Kahrizak detention center of unknown causes.
Now, Mortazavi should surrender himself to the authorities or an arrest warrant will be issued for him.
In 2015 a lower court found the prosecutor guilty of illegally detaining people and barred him from serving in the Justice Department for life and from any public position for five years.
Three years later, the court of appeals overruled the more lenient verdict, sentencing Mortazavi instead to two years in prison as an accomplice to murder.
The Kahrizak tragedy, as it is described by local media in Iran, was kept secret until August 9, 2009, when one of Ahmadinejad’s challengers in the presidential race, Mehdi Karroubi, disclosed some of the events at Kahrizak in a letter to the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic.
In his letter, Karroubi demanded an investigation into allegations of torture and sexual assault in Iran’s prisons.
Ten days later, he wrote another letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, inviting him to attend a joint session with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and the state Prosecutor-General to "personally present my documents and evidence over the cases of sexual abuse in some prisons, especially Kahrizak."
Ali Larijani and his younger brother Sadeq both rejected Karroubi’s claims and the session never took place.
If it weren’t for the connections of the father of one of the dead students, the tragedy of Kahrizak might never have been legally pursued. Rouholamini’s father, as it happened, was a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In early 2010, the parliament released a report identifying Mortazavi as "the main culprit in the scandal" surrounding Kahrizak.
Days before the report was issued, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Mortazavi as his special advisor on combatting smuggling, a position that carried immunity from prosecution.
Nevertheless, the local media and the opposition based abroad followed up on the Kahrizak tragedy incessantly.
The former judge, known as the “butcher of the press” for ordering scores of reformist papers banned, had previously apologized to the families of Kahrizak victims. He insisted, however, that they young men were not killed deliberately.
However, Mortazavi insisted in his letter of apology that the victims were not killed deliberately.
Meanwhile, Karroubi, the whistleblower who first exposed the killings at Kahrizak, has been under house arrest since 2011 for his role in the 2009 protests.