Iran’s Chief of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday was declared the winner of the country’s June 18 presidential election with 17,926,345 votes.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in response: “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei released a statement praising Iranians’ broad participation in the elections, underlining that “the people were the true winner of yesterday’s election.” But according to the state news outlet IRNA, out of more than 59.3 million Iranians who were eligible to vote fewer than 29 million bothered to show up. Possibly because the results had been predetermined by the supreme leader.
According to Amnesty International, in 2018, they documented how Ebrahim Raisi had been a member of the “death commission” which forcibly disappeared and executed in secret thousands of political dissidents in Evin and Gohardasht prisons near Tehran in 1988.
Raisi was one of the four people in the prosecution committee, responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners in Iran that year. He was sanctioned by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control under Executive Order 13876. He was accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations special rapporteurs.
Raisi has been described as “a favorite and possible successor” to Ayatollah Khamenei. Al Jazeera aggested he was “the most likely successor of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” but that attribution has been made regarding several individuals in Iran’s state apparatus, including the late Quds force commander Qasem Soleimani.
Amnesty’s Callamard said that the circumstances surrounding the fate of Raisi’s thousands of victims and the whereabouts of their bodies are, to this day, “systematically concealed by the Iranian authorities, amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity.”
The statement, which was issued a few hours after Raisi had been declared the winner, continued:
As Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has presided over a spiraling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders, and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained. Under his watch, the judiciary has also granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women, and children and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least hundreds to enforced disappearance, and torture, and other ill-treatment during and in the aftermath of the nationwide protests of November 2019.
“Ebrahim Raisi’s rise to the presidency follows an electoral process that was conducted in a highly repressive environment and barred women, members of religious minorities, and candidates with opposing views from running for office.
We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and ongoing crimes under international law, including by states that exercise universal jurisdiction.
It is now more urgent than ever for member states of the UN Human Rights Council to take concrete steps to address the crisis of systematic impunity in Iran including by establishing an impartial mechanism to collect and analyze evidence of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran to facilitate fair and independent criminal proceedings.