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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

In his closing statement in November 1996, German Federal Prosecutor Bruno Jost told the Court:.

It is not possible to avoid mentioning the state terrorist background of the murder.116

5.6. Arrest Warrant Issued for Ali Fallahian

Three weeks before the Mykonos trial began, the Iranian Minister of Intelligence, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, flew to Bonn to meet with Germany’s most senior intelligence official, Minister of State Bernd Schmidbauer. Fallahian requested that the five Mykonos suspects be freed and sought to stop the prosecution.117 Schmidbauer rejected Fallahian’s request.

Indeed, German prosecutors were so convinced of Iran’s complicity in the assassinations that Chief Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm took the unprecedented step of issuing an international arrest warrant for Fallahian on March 14, 1996. The warrant stated that Fallahian was strongly suspected of ordering the murders. 118

News of the warrant led to demonstrations in Iran. In front of the German Embassy in Tehran, protestors burned the flags of the U.S. and Israel. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, the Iranian ambassador to Germany, attributed the incident to the demonstrators’ patriotism and explained that the arrest warrant was an insult not only to Fallahian, but to the whole of the cabinet, indeed all the people of Iran.119

Vague threats also appeared in news stories released by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) relating to the arrest warrant. IRNA reported that the German judiciary’s issuance of the arrest warrant “could create a danger for Germans abroad,” because “other nations” might follow the German precedent and issue arrest warrants in absentia for citizens of Germany.120 Mahmoud Mohammadi, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, stated that there was “absolutely no evidence” to justify the warrant.121 These statements were echoed by the Iranian Embassy in Germany which expressed the desire to hold the German Attorney-General accountable in front of the international community. Ambassador Mousavian went on to state that if European nations continued to treat Iran in the same manner as America and Israel did, then those European nations would be treated in the same manner by Iran.122

In an interview with Der Spiegel, President Rafsanjani said that he did not blame the German government for the Mykonos trial and the arrest warrant issued for Fallahian. He suggested that “American or Israeli agents had a hand in the process or that the judiciary was simply making a mistake.”123

[116]Patrick Clawson, Europe’s “Critical Dialog” with Iran: Pressure for Change, PolicyWatch 242, ¶ 6 (April 9, 1997) at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=1121
[117]Fallahian lobbied to get the trial quashed and specifically asked “the German side to influence the Mykonos proceedings.” Thomas Sancton, Iran’s State of Terror, TIME, Nov. 1996 at 78. Bruno Jost, the prosecutor, noted that, “[t]he brazen attempts by the Tehran government to influence the proceedings, point to this having happened on Iran’s orders.” REUTERS, German Prosecutor Demands Life Sentences (Nov. 15, 1996).
[118]Haftbefehl, Der Minister für Nachrichtendienste und Sicherheitsangelegenheiten der Islamischen Republik Iran Ali Falahijan [Arrest Warrant, for Ali Falahian, the Minister of Intelligence and Secuirty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Falahian], Dr. Wolst, Federal High Court Judge, (March 14, 1996). Die Agenten schlafen nur, DER SPIEGEL, at 40-41, 13/1996 (March 25, 1996).
[119]Konstruierte Beweise, FOCUS, at 42, 13/1996 (March 25, 1996).
[120]Die Mullahs schlagen zurück, DIE TAGEZEITUNG (March 20, 1996).
[121]Hich Madraki Dal Bar Vujud-i Ertebat Maghamat-i Iran Ba Parvande Matroohe Dar Dadghah Berlin Vujud Nadarad [There is no document proving that there is a connection between IRI's officicals and the presented case in Berlin's court], RESALAT (Tehran), Esfand 27, 1374 (March 17, 1996). See also Teheran über Haftbefehl gegen Minister empört , SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG 65 (March 18 1996).
[122]Die Mullahs schlagen zurück, DIE TAGEZEITUNG, (March 20, 1996).
[123]Europa soll sich schämen, DER SPIEGEL, AT 176, 42/1996 (October 14, 1996).

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom