Prosecution for violations of international law in Iran


27.7.2021 10:10:23 CEST | Public prosecutorShare

Today, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, charges have been brought against an Iranian citizen for international law violations, aggravated crimes and murders committed in Iran in 1988. Prosecutors Kristina Lindhoff Carleson and Martina Winslow are available by phone this afternoon.

Charge 1 – offences of international law, serious crime

From 1981 to 1988, there was an international armed conflict between Iran and Iraq. In the final phase of the armed conflict, Iran was attacked on several occasions, including on 26 July 1988, by an armed branch of the Iranian People’s Mujahideen political organization.

Iran’s then supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued an order shortly afterwards for the execution of all prisoners in Iranian prisons sympathetic to the Mujahideen and loyal to their convictions. As a result of the order, a very large number of these prisoners were executed between 30 July and 16 August 1988 in gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran.

The accused person was, according to prosecutors, at the time an assistant to the assistant prosecutor in the prison in Gohardasht. According to the indictment, he, along with other perpetrators in the prison, participated in the mass executions and is suspected of intentionally depriving the lives of a very large number of prisoners sympathized with the Mujahideen and that he subjected prisoners to a severe suffering that prosecutors say is to be assessed as torture and inhumane treatment.

According to the indictment, the Mujahideen were complicit in the international armed conflict between Iran and Iraq. The mujahideen attacks emanated from Iraqi territory and took place in cooperation with the Iraqi army. The prosecutors also argue that there was a connection between the armed conflict and the mass executions, which is why this act was deemed to be a crime of international law, a serious crime.

Charge 2 – Murder

The leadership in Iran then decided sometime before August 27, 1988, that other political prisoners in Iranian prisons, sympathetic to various leftist groups and who were considered to have renounced their Islamic faith, should also be executed. A very large number of these prisoners were subsequently executed between 27 August and 6 September 1988 in gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran.

The indictment also includes that the suspect, along with other perpetrators during this period, has deprived the lives of a very large number of prisoners who sympathized with other leftist groups and who were considered to have renounced their Islamic faith. These acts have not been deemed to be related to the armed conflict and since crimes against humanity were not criminalized in Sweden until 1 July 2014, these acts have been classified as murder.

“International law crimes, or war crimes as it is also called, are one of the most serious crimes, both internationally and in Swedish legislation. Violations of international law have been deemed so serious that no matter where they are committed or by whom, national courts should be able to examine such suspicions. Due to sweden having universal jurisdiction for international law violations, we have both an opportunity but also a certain obligation, to prosecute these crimes,” says Kristina Lindhoff Carleson, Prosecutor.

“The extensive police investigation that led to this prosecution is an important signal that even if crimes have been committed outside Sweden’s borders and many years back in time, this type of suspicion can be prosecuted in Sweden,” says Kristina Lindhoff Carleson, prosecutor.

“Crimes against humanity only became part of the Swedish Criminal Code on 1 July 2014, which is why we have not been able to use that heading when the accused acts took place before then. The indictment therefore relates to the disturbances of international law offences, serious crime and murder, Kristina Lindhoff Carleson clarifies.

Case number in Stockholm District Court: B 15255-19.

The plaintiffs, witnesses and experts from different parts of the world will be heard during the hearing, which is expected to last from 10 August 2021 to April 2022.


Prosecutors are available for brief comments today from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the phone.

Kristina Lindhoff Carleson, 010-562 54 31

Martina Winslow, 010-562 54 21


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