Ebrahim Raisi will become president of Iran in just over a week, even though (or perhaps, because) his resume is filled with crimes against the Iranian people and humanity. Shortly after his ascension was announced, Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard criticized Raisi’s rise to the second-most powerful position in the country.
Callamard wrote: “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…”
Let’s look into that a little more.
The Iranian regime is the world leader in executions per capita because the mullahs use the death penalty as a tool for repression, murdering political activists to intimidate the wider public into submission, although it should be noted that this doesn’t just apply to the regime’s enemies.
This has increased markedly during Raisi’s stint as Judiciary Chief from 2019 until 2021, not least because of the crackdown on the 2019 uprising, which led to 1,500 protesters being slaughtered in just a few days, while 12,000 more were arrested; many of whom are still in prison.
This does include many women, including mothers of young children, as the execution of them has also increased under Raisi.
In July 2019, political prisoner Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee wrote an open letter, in which she discussed women on death row, noting that many of them were victims of domestic abuse who had snapped and killed their husband, father, or brother after years of violence because the regime offers no legal way for women to escape.
One of these women is Mohabbat Mahmoudi, 64, who has been on death row for 20 years after she killed a man – Hatam Mahmoudi Gonbadi – who broke into her home, armed with a knife and intending to rape her and her daughter. He stabbed Mahmoudi three times before she accidentally fired a gun at him and he was still holding the knife when the police arrived.
In February, Zahra Esma’ili was executed just minutes after suffering a heart attack because she saw others being executed in front of her, even though she was innocent and had only taken responsibility for the murder of her husband – Alireza Zamani – to protect her teenage daughter, who snapped after years of abuse by the Intelligence agent.
Another woman, 24-year-old Zeinab Sekaanvand was hanged in 2018, despite international calls for a pardon, after seven years on death row for killing her abusive husband who she was forced to marry at 15. She was given the death penalty even though international law bars the execution of people who are under 18 at the time of their crime.
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “In Iran, executions and killing continue unabated, tarnishing the nation’s history. Grief continues as well, and the calls seeking justice will never be forgotten. Families’ pain and suffering will never be forgotten, either, including for orphans whose parents were tortured and executed. Thus, the calls for justice by the mothers and other loved ones of the executed will not be forgotten. Surely, one day, Ebrahim Raisi will be brought to justice.”