War Crimes Trial of Former Iranian Official Begins in Sweden

A former Iranian official charged with war crimes over his alleged involvement in the 1988 mass executions of political dissidents has gone on trial in Sweden on Aug. 10.

Hamid Noury, 60, appeared in the Stockholm District Court on the first day of the three-day trial for charges of murder and war crimes while during the 1988 mass murder.

Swedish prosecutors accused Noury of “intentionally taking the life of a very large number of prisoners sympathetic to or belonging to the People’s Mujahedin” (MEK) between July 30 and Aug. 16, 1998 while he was allegedly an assistant to the deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht prison in the Iranian city of Karaj.

Noury is also accused in participating in the execution of other prisoners who were considered opponents of the “theocratic Iranian state.”

According to the prosecution, Noury handed down death sentences, brought prisoners to the execution chamber, and helped prosecutors gather the names of prisoners.

Around 5,000 political prisoners were executed across Iran allegedly under the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, according to human rights organizations.

The case is the first of its kind against someone accused over the purge and is likely to stir tensions with Iran.

Nouri “denies any accusation of involvement in the alleged executions of 1988,” his lawyer Thomas Soderqvist told AFP News.

A verdict is expected in April 2022.

A group of 30 complainants, including justice campaigner and former political prisoner Iraj Mesdaghi, helped bring the case to Sweden, where its principle of universal jurisdiction allows its courts to try a person on serious charges regardless of where the alleged offenses took place.

Campaigners also accuse current Iranian government figures, including new president Ebrahim Raisi, of playing a role in the executions.

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