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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

Corps.82 After Sabra learned of media reports concerning the arrests of Amin and Rhayel and saw their pictures in the newspaper, he feared he might be next and decided to flee Germany. He traveled first to Bulgaria and then to Lebanon, where he is currently believed to be working for the Hezbollah spiritual leader, Sheikh Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fazlollah.83

5.2. Indictment

The investigation of the Mykonos operation was headed by German Federal Prosecutor Bruno Jost. On May 17, 1993 Jost announced the indictment of Amin, Darabi and Rhayel on four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, and the indictment of Atris and Ayad on four counts of aiding and abetting murder and one count of aiding and abetting an attempted murder.

The indictment, signed by Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Alexander von Stahl, asserted that Darabi’s assignment was to “liquidate” the PDKI leaders as part of a “persecution strategy of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence against the Iranian opposition.”84

5.3. Trial

The trial of the five Mykonos suspects opened on October 28, 1993 in the Berlin Court of Appeal. The trial lasted three and a half years. The court met for a total of 246 sessions, heard 176 witnesses, and considered documentary evidence varying from secret intelligence files to tapes of Iranian television broadcasts.85 The trial also featured statements from one of the accused, Youssef Amin, and heard the testimony of a former senior official of the IRI Ministry of Intelligence, identified in court only as “witness C.”

Several witnesses testified regarding the relations and affiliations of the accused with Hezbollah, Amal or the IRI. Testimony recounted the history of the Islamic Republic’s involvement in assassinations and its targeting of political opposition groups. Witnesses Shahed Hosseini and Abdollah Ezatpour, who succeeded Abdoli and Ardalan respectively in the PDKI,86 explained to the court the reasons underlying tensions between the PDKI and the Islamic Republic.87 Dr. Manouchehr Ganji,88 head of the France-based “Flag of Freedom” (Derafsh-e Kaviyani) opposition party, described other murders and assassination attempts on members of his own political party.89

Former Iranian President Abdolhassan Banisadr90 testified that the Mykonos murders had been personally ordered by Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, and President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.91 In an interview with IHRDC conducted in January 2007 Banisadr stated that he had

[82] Interview with Parviz Dastmalchi, Eyewitness, in New Haven, Conn. (Sep. 7, 2006).
[83] Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 51-52.
[84] Thomas Sancton, Iran’s State of Terror, TIME, Nov. 1996 at 78.
[85] James Walsh, Iran’s Smoking Gun, 149 TIME 16, ¶ 1 (April 21, 1997) at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1997/int/970421/europe.irans_smoking.html.
[86] Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 334.
[87] Id. at 324-25.
[88] Dr. Manouchehr Ganji was the head of the Faculty of Law of the Tehran University and Iran’s Minister of Education under the Shah.
[89]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 357-60.
[90] Abolhassan Banisadr was the first elected President of Iran after the 1979 Revolution. He served from January 25, 1980 to June 20, 1981 when he was impeached. In exile in France, Banisadr now publishes the biweekly newspaper “Enghelabe Eslami,” reporting on the current situation in Iran. See http://www.banisadr.com.fr.
[91] PARVIZ DASTMALCHI, RISHIHAY-I IDIULUZHIK TERURISM-I VELAYAT-I FAGHIH VA ASNAD-I MYKONOS [The Ideological Roots of Terrorism of the Velayat-i Faghih and Mykonos Documents], 56-57 (1997).

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom