Iranian lawmaker seeks answers on fugitive ex-prosecutor

Said Mortazavi, pictured in 2000, was sentenced to two years in prison in November 2017
AFP

Tehran (AFP) – An Iranian lawmaker demanded answers on Wednesday over why a former prosecutor remains free, more than four months after he was sentenced over the death of a protestor.

Said Mortazavi, former chief prosecutor for the capital Tehran, was sentenced to two years in prison in November.

Fateme Saidi, a member of the pro-reform Hope faction in Iran’s parliament, has submitted a request to question Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahman Fazli and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei, to find out “quite simply whether any action has been taken to arrest Mr Said Mortazavi,” according to pro-reform news agency ILNA.

Saidi is reported to have made the request after comments in the press a few days earlier by a spokesman for the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, who said that while a warrant has been issued for Mortazavi’s arrest, the authorities have “not been successful in getting (our) hands on him”.

The comments sparked a social media storm.

“The prosecutor has acted and will continue to act in accordance with the law in cases linked with the prestige of the judicial apparatus,” Mizan news agency quoted Tehran’s prosecutor general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, as saying.

“With respect to (Mortazavi), the necessary instructions for the execution of the verdict were given and the persons responsible for following up the case were reminded of the importance of the verdict being applied,” he added, according to Mizan, the judiciary’s press agency.

Mortazavi made the front page of pro-reform newspapers on Sunday.

“Said, are you lost?” the Arman asked sarcastically, while a headline in Shargh read “In Search of Mortazavi”.

Mortazavi is subject to sanctions by the United States and the European Union, for “grave violations of human rights” including the arrest of “hundreds of activists, journalists and students” during mass protests against the re-election in 2009 of hardline then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mortazavi was suspended by the judiciary in November 2014 in connection with the July 2009 deaths of three protestors in Kahrizak prison, south of Tehran.    

Initially sentenced to five years upon being found guilty in relation to the death of one of the three protestors, this was commuted to two years on appeal in November last year, but with no possibility of further appeal.

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