Former Iranian intelligence and security minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei was named the new judiciary head by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday, following Ebrahim Raisi’s promotion to the president last month.
Ejei, who was also once prosecutor-general, has been blacklisted by the US and the European Union due to human rights abuses, including the persecution of protesters, and is now taking over a judiciary with the world record for the number of executions.
In 2017, Ejei, who has been involved in the regime since the very beginning, told a journalist that he was okay with the execution of “corrupters, terrorists and those who disrupt the security of the people”, although it should be noted that these categories are often used to describe dissidents and minorities. This is a blatant acknowledgment that brutal punishments, like hanging, crucifying, and lashing, are commonplace under the mullahs and he doesn’t much care.
The previous year, Ejei defended the state-sponsored massacre of demonstrators in 2009, following the protests over a rigged election.
He said: “No one should try to defend the criminals of the 2009 sedition, the seditionists were criminals, they are criminals and those who were punished deserved it. Those who are still on the run, if the establishment finds them, they will be punished.”
In 2010, the US Treasury blacklisted Ejei and several other officials “responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses” and “who share responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran since June 2009 disputed presidential election”.
The statement read: “As the Minister of Intelligence at the time of the June 2009 election, Mohseni Ejei has confirmed that he authorized confrontations with protesters and their arrests during his tenure as Minister of Intelligence. As a result, protesters were detained without formal charges brought against them, and during this detention, detainees were subjected to beatings, solitary confinement, and a denial of due process rights at the hands of intelligence officers under the direction of Mohseni Ejei.”
In 2011, the International Women’s Communication Organization awarded Ejei the International Bludgeon award for his contribution to the abuse of women. One specific example of this is the rape and murder of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi in 2003, where Ejei and Raisi’s committee acquitted the main defendant Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi. Another example can be seen in his 2011 threat to women and girls who break hijab rules when he said that the judiciary supported the state security forces’ attacks on the women.