International organizations condemned President-elect Ebrahim Raisi for his long record of human rights abuses dating back to the 1980s. He was one of four men on the so-called Death Commission that approved the execution of more than 4,000 political prisoners in 1988. Raisi, the judiciary chief since 2019, “has presided over a spiralling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general and a former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights issues. She called for Raisi to be investigated for crimes under international law. Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, said Raisi “represents a repressive state that chooses to muzzle and maim those who criticize it.” The following are statements from human rights groups on Raisi’s election.
Secretary General Agnès Callamard on June 19, 2021: “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran. In 2018, our organization documented how Ebrahim Raisi had been a member of the ‘death commission’ which forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents in Evin and Gohardasht prisons near Tehran in 1988. The circumstances surrounding the fate of the victims and the whereabouts of their bodies are, to this day, systematically concealed by the Iranian authorities, amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity.
As Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has presided over a spiralling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained. https://t.co/Ry0F3vIkql— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) June 19, 2021
“As Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has presided over a spiralling crackdown on human rights which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained. Under his watch, the judiciary has also granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women and children and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least hundreds to enforced disappearance, and torture and other ill-treatment during and in the aftermath of the nationwide protests of November 2019.
“Ebrahim Raisi’s rise to the presidency follows an electoral process that was conducted in a highly repressive environment and barred women, members of religious minorities and candidates with opposing views from running for office.
“We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and ongoing crimes under international law, including by states that exercise universal jurisdiction.
“It is now more urgent than ever for member states of the UN Human Rights Council to take concrete steps to address the crisis of systematic impunity in Iran including by establishing an impartial mechanism to collect and analyse evidence of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran to facilitate fair and independent criminal proceedings.”
Center for Human Rights in Iran
Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi on June 19, 2021: “This was not an election, it was a selection… Raisi’s new title does not absolve him of his long record of gross human rights violations.”
“Raisi does not speak for or represent the Iranian people…He represents a repressive state that chooses to muzzle and maim those who criticize it.”
“As president, Raisi has a duty to enforce the Constitution and defend the rights of citizens, and yet as Judiciary Chief, he has been responsible for countless, severe violations of citizens’ rights by the judicial branch… Now more than ever we need to keep the spotlight on Iran and its new president, so that further rights violations do not go unnoticed in the darkness.”
Human Rights Watch
Deputy Middle East Director Michael Page on June 19, 2021: ““Iranian authorities paved the way for Ebrahim Raeesi to become president through repression and an unfair election… During his judicial career, Raeesi oversaw some of the most heinous crimes in Iran’s recent history, which deserve investigation and accountability rather than election to high office.”
“The international community has a critically important responsibility toward the Iranian people, who have faced brutal repression and international sanctions over the past years… Leaders should come together to increase accountably, while ensuring that engagement breaks the isolation of Iranian civil society and local actors, who are pushing for greater respect for human rights on the ground.”