Former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has been appointed as the head of the Social Security Fund, despite impending charges against him regarding the torture and death of inmates at Kahrizak Prison.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly appointed Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund today in a ceremony attended by the Minister of Cooperatives, Employment and Social Security and other members of his administration.
In the past four years, the Social Security Organization has gone through four executive directors, which led to harsh criticism of the organization.
Workers have also protested against turning this non-governmental organization into a government institution. Retirees have also been repeatedly pressing the fund managers for an increase in benefits relative to the rate of inflation.
Mortazavi’s appointment to the head of the Social Security Fund has been severely criticized by several members of Parliament, who claim Mortazavi does not have the “necessary knowledge and competence to head this organization.
The Mothers of Laleh Park, a group of mothers who lost their children in the protests that followed the controversial 2009 presidential elections, have also denounced Mortazavi’s appointment to top government positions while he’s the main suspect in the crimes that were committed in Kahrizak.
It is widely believed that Mortazavi ordered the transfer of election protesters to Kahrizak Prison, knowing they would face abuse and torture. Mortazavi also tried to cover up the deaths of three detainees who were killed under torture by claiming they had died of meningitis.
Mortazavi was removed from his position as Tehran Prosecutor when news of the torture and deaths at Kahrizak Prison hit the media. Ahmadinejad, however, swiftly engaged him as the head of the Task Force against Smuggling and has now transferred him to his new government position.
Despite public claims by Mortazavi that he has been acquitted of the charges against him, the judiciary is apparently still pursing the charges pertaining to his role in the death of three detainees at Kahrizak Prison.