A landmark trial against a former Iranian prison official accused of war crimes during a 1988 purge of dissidents wrapped up in Sweden on Wednesday, with a verdict due to 14 July.
The proceedings marked the first time an Iranian official has gone on trial for the purge.
Hamid Noury, 61, faces charges including war crimes and murder for his role in the killing of hundreds of political prisoners in Gohardasht prison in Karaj.
5000 political prisoners were executed across Iran in the summer of 1988, ordered by the Islamic regime supreme leader Khomeini.
Prosecutors called for a life sentence for Noury, who has been on trial in Stockholm district court since August 2021.
On Wednesday, the final day of the trial, the judge set the date for the verdict on July 14.
“I hope these hands will be cleared … with the help of God,” Noury told the court, his palms raised to the sky and holding a Koran. “Friends, I love you, I’m not angry at you”, he told those present in the courtroom, his remarks in Farsi translated into Swedish by a court-appointed interpreter.
The defence had contested Sweden’s principle of universal jurisdiction — which allows it to try the case regardless of where the offences took place — and called into question the plaintiffs’ testimony.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about the way in which the name Hamid Noury arose in the testimonies”, Daniel Marcus, one of Noury’s two lawyers, told the court, calling the evidence “insufficient”.
According to the prosecution and survivors who testified against him, Noury was assistant to the deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht prison near Tehran at the time of the events.
He allegedly handed down death sentences, brought prisoners to the execution chamber and helped prosecutors gather prisoners’ names. Noury has argued that he was on leave during the period in question, and said he worked in another prison, not in Gohardasht.
Noury was arrested at a Stockholm airport in November 2019 after a number of Iranian former political prisoners filed police complaints against him.
The trial took eight months. It ended on Wednesday 4 May 2022.