October 11, 2021
A group of detained Iranian lawyers have published an open letter declaring their intent to sue Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, former president Hassan Rouhani and ex-health minister Saeed Namaki, as well as all members of the National Coronavirus Taskforce and the Prosecutor-General.
Mustafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian were among six people detained in mid-August as they prepared to file a lawsuit against the Supreme Leader for gross mishandling of Covid-19 in Iran.
The news website Emtedad published their letter on Sunday, quoting it as follows: “As a group of Iranian citizens, we wanted to speak out about the unprofessional speeches, the simplifications, the carelessness and arrogance of the country’s officials during the coronavirus pandemic.
“From preventing the timely purchase of a coronavirus vaccine to delaying its import due to political motives; from the extrajudicial establishment of the National Coronavirus Taskforce to the deposit of billions of dollars in non-specialist corporations and selected institutions, instead of reputable ones; from the murder and painful deaths of tens of thousands of our compatriots, to the deaths of hundreds of health workers.”
Nili, Kaykhosravi and Mahmoudian wrote that they had decided to file the complaint against those officials who had “sent millions of our compatriots into mourning” by “recklessness, bigotry, inaction and prioritizing factional, political and economic interests over the health of the people. We file charges against them for involuntary manslaughter, amongst other things.”
Before they had a chance to file it, however, the three said 15 agents of the judiciary had raided their offices in Tehran “violently and without authorization… after three hours of useless quarrelling, they detained us to prevent us from filing a complaint.”
Since then, they said, they had been held in Ward 241 of Evin Prison, blocked from having visits or phone calls, and subjected to 23 days of solitary confinement. This, they said, would be added to their complaint as a “clear example of torture” and a violation of Iran’s own Constitution.
Two weeks ago, it emerged that Mehdi Mahmoudian was also being held in connection with a previous, four-year sentence issued against him – for calling on people to light candles in memory of the victims of the Flight 752 disaster. He was also sentenced to a year in prison for signing a joint statement condemning the government’s treatment of November 2019 protesters.