JEDDAH: A former Iranian prosecutor was charged on Tuesday with war crimes and murder over the execution of more than 100 political prisoners in Iran in 1988.
Hamid Noury, 60, has been under arrest in Sweden since 2019, when he was detained at Stockholm airport as he arrived to visit relatives.
Human rights groups have been campaigning for years for justice over the extrajudicial execution of thousands of Iranians, mostly young people, in the late 1980s.
The victims were linked to the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, a political organization that seeks to overthrow Iran’s ruling clerics.
In the summer of 1988, Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini “issued an order to execute all prisoners held in Iranian prisons who sympathized with and were loyal in their convictions to the Mujahedin,” Swedish prosecutors said on Tuesday.
At the time, Noury was an assistant prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison on the outskirts of Karaj, west of Tehran.
Noury “is suspected of participating … in these mass executions and, as such, intentionally taking the lives of a large number of prisoners who sympathized with the Mujahedin and, additionally, of subjecting prisoners to severe suffering which is deemed torture and inhuman treatment,” prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carleson said.
Noury’s trial begins on Aug. 10 in Stockholm and is expected to last about eight months. It is likely to be embarrassing for Iran, where rights groups say many officials involved in the extrajudicial killings in the 1980s are still in positions of power.
They include the newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, who Amnesty International says played a key role as a prosecutor on the “death commission” that sent thousands of prisoners to be killed.