International Criminal Court Charges Iranian National for 1988 Massacre

On June 22, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in Sweden began the trial for an Iranian national. The unnamed respondent is suspected of playing a vital role in the series of killings in 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War. On July 27, the prosecutors formally charged the Iranian national with war crimes. The trial for the alleged charges will begin on August 10.

Although the Office of the Prosecutor declines to name the suspect officially, many news agencies refer to the Iranian national as 60-year old Hamid Nouri. Nouri, fifty-eight years old at the time, was apprehended and arrested in Sweden in November 2019. At that time, Karolina Wieslander — the current prosecutor — did not identify the arrested Iranian national. Wieslander provided limited information stating that the individual is suspected of committing war crimes from July 28 to August 31 in 1988, working in prison in Karaj, Iran.

Nouri maintains that he is innocent of all the charges. Nouri's lawyer, Lars Hultgren, in an interview with a local news agency in Sweden, insisted that Nouri is innocent, claiming that "they have taken the wrong guy." Hultgren added that Nouri was in Sweden at that time to visit relatives

The formal charging of Nouri came to attention following the election of Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of Iran. He will formally take office by August. The significance of Nouri's charges lies in the role Raisi played during the Iran-Iraq War. Raisi was one of the four prosecutors who tried prisoners for their political affiliations and activities.

Nouri was the assistant to a deputy prosecutor in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, the same prison where Nouri was stationed during the war. Many of the People's Mujahedin Organisation members were detained and tried by a tribunal where Raisi was a member in the mentioned prison. The prisoners were also subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.

The Office of the Prosecutor verified that Nouri's charges were for his time as the assistant to the deputy prosecutor. However, the prosecutor is inclined to charging Nouri with murder rather than crimes against humanity, which did not become offenses under Swedish law until 2014.

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