Ali Akbar Heydarifar

Ali Akbar Heydarifar, one of three judicial figures facing charges related to the torture and death of detainees in Kahrizak Prison, says he was responsible for transferring the detainees to Kahrizak and former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi is “innocent.”

The former prosecutor is charged with “complicity in murder” in addition to the charge of “involvement in illegal arrests”, which was also brought against Heydarifar and Judge Haddad, who together comprise the three judicial figures facing charges in connection with the torture and death of three detainees in Kahrizak Prison in 2009.

Heydarifar told the Mehr News Agency before the third court session: “During the events of 2009, as the deputy prosecutor, I signed the arrest warrants and the transfer orders to Kahrizak.”

The trial is being held behind closed doors, with the third session in progress today.

Reporters asked Heydarifar: “Do you confirm Mortazavi’s claim that he was on vacation at the time?” to which he answered: “Yes, but I wasn’t on leave and I was there from the beginning to the end.”

Motazavi told reporters on Saturday, after the end of the second court session, that he had been on leave during the Kahrizak events, and the orders for the temporary arrest of the detainees were issued by other judges.

Heydarifar claimed that he had prepared a 30-page defence that reveals that Saeed Mortazavi was in no way involved in the transfer of detainees to Kahrizak and that he [Heydarifar] was fully responsible for the whole matter.

In 2009, millions of protesters lined the streets of Tehran and other major Iranian cities to challenge the election outcome with allegations of vote fraud. Many peaceful protesters were arrested, and a group of them was transferred to Kahrizak Prison, a notorious detention centre on the outskirts of Tehran. There the detainees were severely tortured, and when news of the death of three detainees leaked out, the prison was closed down by the order of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The families of the victims filed suits against the Tehran prosecutor and his assistant and acting judge, whom they blame for transferring these detainees to Kahrizak knowing that they would be tortured.

Mortazavi was immediately removed from his position as Tehran prosecutor at the time but, as a close ally of the president, he still wields considerable influence, and his prosecution has proved problematic.