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Majority Of Lawmakers Thank Khamenei For Appointment Of Controversial Judge

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and newly appointed head of Judiciary Ebrahim Raeesi, undated.

Two hundred members of Iran’s parliament have sent a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei welcoming the appointment of Ebrahim Raeesi (Raeisi) as head of the country’s Judiciary.

These lawmakers represent the reformist Omid (Hope) faction, as well as conservatives and independents. Such a united move was initially unexpected as Mr. Raeesi’s appointment was deemed by many as controversial.

Raeesi was member of a judicial committee that decided on the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Human rights organizations estimate that more than 5,000 prisoners, most serving jail terms, were killed. He is on the list of individuals sanctioned by the European Union.

In the letter the lawmakers praise the khamenei’s decision as a “worthy appointment”, adding that it has “brought hope and joy to society”. They also praised Raeesi’s “judicial experience”.

The reformists are the biggest faction with 110 lawmakers in the 290-member parliament. President Hassan Rouhani has also congratulated Raeesi.

Meanwhile, 100 Iranian political and civic activists have issued a statement calling the appointment "salt on the wounds" of the survivors of the prison killings and a "bonus to criminals". The activists say that this decision shows Khamenei's "indifference" and "pertinacity".