Press Release

On Monday 26 February 2018, the lawyers acting on a pro bono basis for the Iran Tribunal filed a complaint against Alireza Avaei, the Minister of Justice in Rouhani’s Government, with the Swiss Prosecutor, charging Avaei with crimes against humanity.

Alireza Avaei is due to lead a delegation to the 37th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva on 27 February 2018.  He is participating in the Human Rights Council as the representative of his Government on human rights while he has a long record of gross violations of human rights and has committed crimes against humanity.

Earlier in February the Watchdog Committee of the Iran Tribunal was alerted to the possible participation of Alireza Avaei in the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council.  Immediately, in view of his criminal activities in the judiciary,  his records were compiled and statements of witnesses in connection with the crimes committed by Avaei as the prosecutor in Kurdestan, Kermanshah, and Central Province in 1983 to 1985 as well as his role in the “death committee” in Dezful and Ahvaz were prepared.

Avaei had a key position in carrying out executions of political prisoners in Dezful (UNESCO) prison in 1988.  It was on the basis of his insistence and that of representative of the Ministry of Information (as well as confirmation of Mohammad Hussein Ahmadi, the religious judge) that all the political prisoners in the UNESCO Prison were executed.  The only exception was the case of Mohammad Reza Ashough, who managed to flee while he was being taken with other prisoners for execution.

Alireza Avaei is travelling on a diplomatic passport as the head of a mission.  He has diplomatic immunity and it would not be easy to arrest and prosecute him while on this mission to Geneva.  While under international law, those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity should not be given immunity, nevertheless many governments and in particular European governments, in order to retain their economic and political interests, undermine this rule.

Watchdog Committee of Iran Tribunal

26th February 2018