The Jerusalem Post

Iran leader names hardline cleric as judiciary head


DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader on Thursday appointed hardline cleric Gholamhoss­ein Mohseni Eje’i as the new head of the judiciary, state media reported, a body that enforces Islamic laws and is accused by rights groups of cracking down harshly on dissent.

Eje’i, a long-term judicial official and former intelligen­ce minister, replaces Ebrahim Raisi, who is due to become president in early August after winning a June 18 election.

Eje’i’s appointmen­t by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comes as Iran faces renewed criticism by Western human rights groups and internatio­nal bodies over

the election of Raisi, who is accused by critics of a series of abuses during his judicial career. He denies wrongdoing.

In a statement, Khamenei urged Mohseni

Eje’i to “promote justice, restore public rights, ensure legitimate freedoms, and oversee the proper implementa­tion of laws, prevent crime, and resolutely fight corruption,” state news agency IRNA reported.

The UN investigat­or on human rights in Iran has called for an independen­t inquiry into allegation­s of state-ordered executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 and the role played by Raisi as Tehran deputy prosecutor.

“As I have described in my reports, there is a widespread and systemic impunity in the country for gross violations of human rights, both historical­ly in the past as well as in the present,” UN’s Javaid Rehman told Reuters this week.

“There are very few if any real avenues for accountabi­lity in line with internatio­nal standards within domestic channels,” Rehman said.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the criticism of its human rights record as baseless and due to a lack of understand­ing of its Islamic laws. It says its legal system is independen­t and not influenced by political interests.

Amnesty Internatio­nal and Human Rights Watch said last month that Raisi’s election was a blow for human rights and called for him to be investigat­ed over his role in the 1988 executions.

 ?? (Khamenei Website/Reuters) ?? ALI KHAMENEI
(Khamenei Website/Reuters) ALI KHAMENEI

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