Ebrahim Raisi, the current Judiciary Chief and subservient disciple to Ruhollah Khomeini, is the only serious contender among 592 registered candidates qualified to run by the Guardian Council.
The Iranian people know Raisi as the “Henchman of the 1988 massacre” and a “mass murderer.” As Ali Khamenei’s primary candidate for the 2021 elections in Iran, he has met solid and broad opposition, particularly among women and youth.
He was a key perpetrator of the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. Moreover, he has no academic or religious credentials even within the murderous theocracy. In short, Raisi earned his credentials in the regime as a stone-hearted killer who rose the ranks of ignorant thugs, with a proven 40-year track record for execution and repression.
Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi to head the Iranian regime’s Judiciary on Thursday, February 26, 2019.During his tenure, Iranian women and girls have experienced specific instances of violations of their fundamental rights, more restrictions on their social activities, as well as arrests, imprisonment, and torture.
The following report summarizes documents, news, and other data that found their way to the press and media and were collected by the NCRI Women’s Committee. Hopefully, it will provide a picture of Khamenei’s favorite candidate to consolidate his regime of terror and repression.
Ebrahim Raisi’s role in the repression and killing of women
During the last four decades of the mullahs’ rule in Iran, Ebrahim Raisi has played a central role in the repression, torture, and killing of regime opponents, particularly women and young intellectuals, and freedom fighters.
Raisi’s background and positions over the past four decades include serving as an interrogator in Masjed Soleiman Court; Prosecuting Attorney in Karaj; Prosecutor of Karaj; Prosecutor of Hamadan; Deputy Attorney General of Tehran; and a member of the “Death Commission” in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.
After the massacre of prisoners in the summer of 1988, Raisi served as Tehran’s Revolutionary Prosecutor, Head of the National Inspectorate, First Deputy of the Judiciary, Special Prosecutor for the Clergy, Chairman of the State Television Supervisory Council, Attorney General, Custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, and Head of the Judiciary.
Raisi participated in the repression and killing of more than 1,500 demonstrators, including 400 women, in November 2019. In addition, he was responsible for the imprisonment, torture, and repression of 12,000 demonstrators. He issued so many prison sentences and ordered executions by torture after forced confessions. The US put him on the country’s sanctions list for his flagrant violations of human rights in November 2019.
Death and flogging sentences for Iranian women and girls
Death sentences and floggings for Iranian women and girls during Raisi’s tenure as head of the Judiciary:
At least 24 women received 1,620 lash sentences. These women were from a broad social spectrum: from labor and student activists to athletes, journalists, lawyers, and street protesters.
Salbi Marandi, 80, received 70 lashes in the Judiciary Enforcement Office in Khoy for following up on her imprisoned child’s status. After suffering lashes that left her paralyzed, she was transferred to Khoy Prison to serve eight months.
In another case of extreme brutality, a female prisoner in Lakan Prison of Rasht was flogged 100 times before being released. She had previously spent 15 years in prison.
Torture and forced confession in detention
During Raisi’s tenure as head of the Judiciary, few shocking reports surfaced despite the atmosphere of censorship and repression, pointing to tremendous suffering in dreaded prisons and torture chambers. According to these reports:
At least 36 women prisoners were tortured and harassed.
At least six women, including environmental activists, civil society activists, cultural activists, and detainees from the November 2019 uprising, have been pressured to make forced confessions.
An example of a forced confession:
Elaheh Darvishi, 19, was pregnant at the time of her arrest. She was arrested because of her husband’s political activities and gave birth in prison. Before the child was born, prison authorities threatened Elaheh Darvishi, saying if she did not write what they wanted, they would kill her and the child she was carrying.
Examples of torture:
Lamya Hemadi was subjected to severe torture during her detention. First, officers burned her with electric prods. Then, after lengthy torture, she was transferred to Tehran Intelligence, where she endured six months of torture and interrogation before being transferred to Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz.
Sakineh Segour, 35, was pregnant. She was taken to the hospital to give birth after a long period of torture. Her body was bloodied, she was in handcuffs, and her ankles were chained.
Arrest and detention of protesters
During Raisi’s tenure as head of the Judiciary, thousands of women activists have been arrested during street protests, detained, and subjected to all forms of pressure. Relatives of martyrs and prisoners after these protests have not been spared from these pressures.
The families of at least three martyrs from the November 2019 uprising (Shabnam Dayani, Azadeh Zarbi, and Farzad Ansarifar) have been threatened and warned to remain silent in the face of the killing of their loved ones. Instead, they were instructed to say that the cause of their loved ones’ deaths was an accident or a natural disaster.
Fatemeh Davand, one of the protesters arrested in Bukan in November 2019, was transferred to Urmia Central Prison. Bukan City Court sentenced her to 5 years and five months in prison, as well as 30 lashes. Fatemeh Davand, 42, is the mother of three children.
In another example, agents from the Ahvaz Department of Intelligence arrested Mrs. Badrieh Hamidavi on May 16, 2021. Mrs. Hamidavi was the mother of a young man, Ali Tamimi, killed by security forces in November 2019.
Family members of the victims of the Ukrainian flight have also been under pressure since the mullahs’ regime downed the aircraft in January 2020. According to Human Rights Watch, several families said officials, often in plain clothes, attended public and private memorial services for their loved ones. The families also said that the authorities did not allow them to see their loved ones’ bodies.
“I still do not know if I really buried my son,” said the mother of one of the victims.
Imprisonment during the Coronavirus outbreak
During Raisi’s tenure as head of the Judiciary, prisoners were denied leave during the Coronavirus outbreak in prisons. They were thus subjected to a silent massacre:
At least 76 women in the country’s prisons contracted the Coronavirus and were denied the necessary care.
The situation of women prisoners was reported to be critical in at least five prisons across the country, Qarchak of Varamin, Sepidar of Ahvaz, Tabriz Prison, Urmia Central Prison, and Zanjan Prison.
In Ahvaz’s Sepidar Prison alone, more than 50 women became infected with the Coronavirus.
Following the death of Fatemeh Alizadeh in Urmia Prison, at least 200 women prisoners went on a hunger strike.
Testimony of a tortured female prisoner
Farideh Goudarzi is a witness. She was tortured directly supervised by Ebrahim Raisi.
She describes the scene as follows:
“In 1983, I was arrested in the city of Hamadan for supporting the PMOI. I was 9 months pregnant, only a week away from giving birth. I was taken to a torture chamber in that condition and tortured with a cable. One of the people present at the scene was Ebrahim Raisi. I did not know him at that time, but my cellmates said that he was the prosecutor of Hamadan.”
In 1983, Raisi was not more than 21 years old. He was not particularly well-educated and certainly not very literate in terms of theology. However, he was the prosecutor of Karaj and Hamadan. Many political prisoners, most of them PMOI sympathizers, were sentenced to death on orders signed by Ebrahim Raisi.
Farideh Goudarzi’s husband was hanged at the time in the courtyard of Hamadan Prison. Her younger sister, Fariba, and her brother, Parviz, were executed during the 1988 massacre after the death commissions, issued their death decrees with Ebrahim Raisi as a member. They were buried in mass graves without informing their family of their execution among 30,000 political prisoners.
Destruction of mass graves
In the past two years, as Ebrahim Raisi headed the mullahs’ Judiciary, many of the mass graves, including the ones in Tehran’s Khavaran Cemetery, were destroyed, an effort by the regime’s officials to eliminate all traces left of that great crime against humanity in summer of 1988.
These crimes against humanity continue to this date. Their perpetrators, including Khamenei and Raisi, have held on to power with impunity.