Zamaneh Media’s Editorial Board published a statement on the election of Ebrahim Raisi, the ultraconservative judge who won the office of president in Iran referring to his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.
Raisi won the presidency on 19 June 2021, as a boycott movement decided not to take part in the 18th of June presidential election in Iran, resulting in the lowest turnout in 42 years of the Islamic Republic rule.
Zamaneh Editorial board writes about Raisi’s involvement in the four-member “Death Commission” that ordered the mass execution of political prisoners in Iranian prisons in 1988:
“Right now in Iran, they have appointed someone as the head of the executive branch who was a member of the Death Commission that carried out the order to kill political prisoners in the summer of 1988…”
The four judges, including Raisi, executed thousands of political prisoners, and Zamaneh’s Editorial board writes that they cannot remain “neutral” about this. they add:
“The rest of the political stakeholders in the central circle of power in Iran are also criminals; however, Raisi is a symbol of the great massacre of political prisoners.”
Zamaneh media’s team is committed to repeating and reiterating this fact over and over again: Raisi is a killer.
The team has decided that in the 35 days that remain until Raisi is inaugurated, whenever his name appears in their reporting or analysis, in his introduction in the text they will write that he was a member of the Death Commission like this: Ebrahim Raisi (member of the Death Commission).
The Editorial team’s message is clear:
“From now on, wherever Raisi’s name appears in our media, in front of it in parentheses, we will mention his role in the murder of political prisoners.”
Ebrahim Raisi’s involvement in the killing of political prisoners in Iran has been documented. In Aug 2016, the son of Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, provided an audio file to Zamaneh media that was a recording of his father in conversation with the Death Commission. Hussein Ali Montazeri was criticizing the mass killings of political prisoners in the audiotape and Mr. Raisi was present in that meeting with other members of the commission.
Before being elected as the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi was the head of the Judiciary. His career also starts in the Judiciary and he was in his 20s that he was appointed as one of the judges of the Death Commission. He had numerous roles in the Judiciary that involved the suppression of political dissidents including the Green Movement of Iran in 2009 and including the execution of two protesters.
Ebrahim Raisi’s involvement in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 has been the subject of much debate among civil society activists, dissidents, and human rights groups with Amnesty International calling Raisi’s victory “a grim reminder of the crisis of impunity.”
After he was elected as president, Amnesty International wrote in a statement:
“Today’s announcement that Ebrahim Raisi will assume the presidency of Iran, instead of being investigated for crimes under international law, is a grim reminder of the international failure to address a crisis of systematic impunity in Iran.”
Raisi for the first time addressed his involvement in the killing of political prisoners on Monday 22 June, in response to a question from Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig in a press conference after he won the presidency. He said all he has done was to “defend human rights” and called the political prisoners he executed a security threat.