Iran exiles file suit against President Raisi ahead UN Assembly

Iran exiles file suit against President Raisi ahead UN Assembly

 

An exile group filed a lawsuit in New York against Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday, challenging US authorities to take action against him as he prepares to arrive in New York for the UN General Assembly next month.

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The National Council of Resistance of Iran said the suit accused Raisi of torture and murder in a 1988 crackdown on Iranian dissidents.

According to the civil lawsuit, Raisi was a member of the so-called “death commission” in 1988, a group of four judges who directly ordered thousands of executions and tortures of members of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran.

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The suit was filed in federal court in New York last week in the names of two people tortured at the time and a third person whose brother was executed.

It cited Amnesty International and US sanctions declarations that accuse Raisi of complicity in the 1988 events.

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The suit asked for unspecified damages for torture, extrajudicial killings, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The suit contested the belief that Raisi, who was elected president last year, has immunity under US law as a head of state and an official foreign representative attending the United Nations annual general meeting in New York.

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Steven Schneebaum, the lawsuit’s lead attorney, stated at a Washington press conference sponsored by the NCRI that it is “beyond doubt that Ebrahim Raisi, in his capacity as deputy state prosecutor for Tehran province, was a member of that death commission.”

Schneebaum said that, for one, Raisi is not a diplomat officially accredited to the United Nations.

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Secondly, while Raisi is president, the real head of state of Iran is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Raisi is not a diplomat, and is not eligible for the privileges extended under the Vienna Convention. Nor is he in fact a head of state,” Schneebaum said.

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If the US government agrees with those defenses, they could issue Raisi a warrant if he shows up for the September 13 UN meetings.

Schneebaum said that would require him to enter a plea within 21 days.

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