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A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran

Saeed Mortazavi

Born: 1967

Hometown: Yazd

Position: Prosecutor-General of Tehran and Deputy Prosecutor-General of Iran

“Special judges… spared no efforts, at this time of sedition and conspiracy by muharibs and enemies of the sacred system of the Islamic Republic, to foil these riots.”



Known as the “Butcher of the Press,” Saeed Mortazavi served as a judge before becoming Prosecutor-General of Tehran in 2003. In that capacity he was charged with investigating crimes against the state. He is widely believed to have been responsible for the 2003 death of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian journalist who was arrested while taking photographs near Evin Prison. He has also threatened family members of detainees to induce prisoners to write false accounts of pleasant conditions while in custody.

Activists jailed after the June 12, 2009 election report that their arrest warrants were signed by Mortazavi two days before the election. He also personally intervened to prevent the release of Somayyeh Tohidloo, an activist who was arrested without a warrant or explanation.

In December 2009, a report of an investigation ordered by the Majlis was released, finding Mortazavi primarily responsible for the deaths of three protesters and the maltreatment of over 100 others at the Kahrizak prison. In July 2009, 147 people were held for four days in Kahrizak, in a 70m2 room without proper ventilation, heating or food.

On August 31, 2009, Mortazavi was appointed Deputy Prosecutor of Iran. Since then, fifty-seven MPs have called for his dismissal and prosecution. In January 2010, Ahmedinajad appointed Mortazavi to head Iran’s Task Force Against Smuggling, ignoring widespread criticism of his decision.

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Reports, Right to Protest, Imprisonment