JEDDAH: A former prison official sent more than 100 Iranian dissidents to their deaths during a brutal crackdown by the Tehran regime in 1988, a Swedish court was told on Tuesday.
Hamid Noury, 60, appeared at Stockholm District Court charged with war crimes and murder between July 30 and Aug. 16, 1988, when he was assistant to the deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, near Tehran.
Prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carleson accused Noury of “intentionally taking the life of a very large number of prisoners sympathetic to or belonging to the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK),” and other opponents of the “theocratic Iranian state.”
She read out the names of 110 people whose executions Noury is accused of helping to orchestrate. Noury and others “organized and participated in executions by selecting which prisoners should appear before a court-like commission, which had the job of deciding which prisoners should be executed,” the prosecutor said.
Hundreds of MEK supporters demonstrated outside the court on Tuesday. Human rights groups have estimated that 5,000 prisoners were killed across Iran on the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini in reprisal for attacks carried out by the MEK at the end of the Iran-Iraq war.
In early May, more than 150 world figures, including Nobel Prize winners, former heads of state and former UN officials, called for an investigation into the executions.
Sweden’s principle of universal jurisdiction means its courts can try a person on serious charges regardless of where the alleged offenses took place.
Noury has been in custody in Sweden for almost two years, after falling into a trap laid by Iraj Mesdaghi, a justice campaigner and former political prisoner.
Mesdaghi compiled an evidence dossier on Noury of “several thousand pages,” then lured him to Sweden with the promise of a luxury cruise. Noury was arrested when he arrived at Stockholm airport. Noury denies all the charges. His trial is expected to last until April 2022.