(New York, December 15, 2005) — Iran’s new Minister of Interior is implicated in grave human rights violations over the past two decades, possibly including crimes against humanity in connection with the massacre of thousands of political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.
Human Rights Watch also said that the new Minister of Information should be investigated for his possible involvement in a dissident’s killing.
The briefing paper, Ministers of Murder: Iran’s New Security Cabinet, details credible allegations that Minister of Interior Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Minister of Information Gholamhussein Mohseni Ezhei were involved in extremely serious and systematic human rights violations over the past two decades.
“It’s completely unacceptable that men with such records would be serving in Iran’s government,” said Joe Stork deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They should be removed from their posts and investigated for these terrible crimes.”
Iran’s cabinet is now dominated by former security and intelligence officials, Human Rights Watch said, raising fears that President Ahmadinejad’s government will readily resort to violence to suppress dissidents and punish critics.
During Pour-Mohammadi’s tenure as top deputy of the Ministry of Information from 1987 to 1999, agents of the ministry systematically engaged in extrajudicial killings of opposition figures, political activists, and intellectuals.
In 1988, the Iranian government executed thousands of political prisoners held inside Iranian jails. The deliberate and systematic manner in which these extrajudicial executions took place may constitute a crime against humanity under international law, Human Rights Watch said. Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi was a member of the three-person committee that ordered prisoners held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison to their summary executions.