Seyyed Ali Khamenei
Seyyed Ali Khamenei was born in Mashhad during 1939. He was educated in a seminary.
- Member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution from December 1978 to June 1980
- Deputy of Revolution Affairs at the Ministry of Defense
- Head of the IRGC from 24 November 1979 to 24 February 1980
- Friday Prayer Imam
- Member of Parliament from February 1980 to September 1981
- President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from September 1981 to May 1989
- Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council from January 1988 to May 1989
- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran from May 1989 until present
Human Rights Violations (in chronological order) :
During his tenures in various high-ranking offices within the Islamic Republic, including the highest-ranking position of Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei has perpetrated many serious human rights violations.
According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, the Supreme Leader is the highest-ranking authority of the country and possesses vast powers, such as the determination of policies and the ability to appoint officials to many government offices, including:
- Head of the Judiciary
- Members of the Guardian Council
- Chairman of IRIB
- Members and Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council
- Members of religious institutions
- Members of the General Staff of the Armed Forces
- Senior Commanders of the IRGC
- Commanders and senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army
- Commanders of the Law Enforcement Force
The heads of certain ministries, such as the Minister of Intelligence, the Minister of Science, Research and Technology, and the Minister of Interior are chosen with the approval of the Supreme Leader, as well. Therefore, Seyyed Ali Khamenei has had an ongoing role in all human rights violations by institutions such as the Judiciary, the IRGC, and the Law Enforcement Force (NAJA), etc. since 1989.
- Suppressing Student Dissidence
As a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution, Khamenei played a key role in the closure of universities and the violent suppression of students’ dissidence, when The Council announced a cultural revolution. During the national Friday Prayer on 18 April 1980, Khamenei threatened university students during his speech,
‘These groups that have nested in the universities and have attacked the Islamic Republic must be expelled! If these centers of corruption are not returned to their original owner, the state, then the original owner will come and guard them.’
- Legalizing Oppression
As a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution, Khamenei was also responsible for enacting laws that legalized the violent oppression of political dissidents. Specifically, the Council passed a bill establishing procedures for the public and Revolutionary court systems. To date, critics and opponents of the Islamic Republic are tried and sentenced by these courts.
- The 1988 Massacre
In August and September 1988, during Ali Khamenei’s presidency, thousands of political prisoners were executed under Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa (religious order), pursuant to the intelligence and judiciary authorities’ decisions. At the time of the mass executions, the victims had already served, or were currently serving, their prison sentences.
The 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran is recognised as a crime against humanity by international human rights lawyers such as Geoffrey Robertson, as well as by the Iran Tribunal people’s court and Human Rights Watch.
The United Nations recognises the 1988 massacre victims’ cases as enforced disappearances. Enforced disappearance is a human rights violation and a crime under international law. The crime is not subject to statutes of limitations, and charges may be initiated at any time, until the person concerned is found or their fate is determined. According to international law, the Iranian regime should guarantee the families of victims their rights to knowing the truth about the fates and burial places of their loved ones, and hold accountable those responsible for such crimes.
During the winter of 1988, Khamenei said about the execution of political prisoners:
‘Have we abolished the death penalty? No! In the Islamic Republic, we have the death penalty for those who deserve to be executed… Do you think we will treat them—the people who are in prison and still have contact with the munafiqin (Mujahedin-e Khalq,) who have attacked our state—to sweets and candies? If their connection to that organization is determined, what should be done about it? They are condemned to death, and we will execute them! We are not joking about this matter.’
- Suppressing Journalism
As Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei appointed leaders to many government institutions, ministries, and agencies, including the Chairman of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). This state-owned media network has perpetrated human rights violations by working closely with the state security apparatus to broadcast false confessions obtained from political prisoners and prisoners of conscience under conditions of torture and duress.
- The 2009 Post-election Protests
During the unrest that followed the 2009 presidential election, Ali Khamenei called for the suppression of protesters. He also threatened protesters with punishment during a speech and urged them to reject any claims of fraud regarding the election results. 
- Oppressing Baha’i Citizens
As Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa (religious order) against Baha’i citizens and has described them as najis (unclean).His incitement of hatred against this religious group is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran has acceded.
In early 1991, with the approval of the Council of the Islamic Revolution, Khamenei banned Baha’i citizens from government jobs and entry into institutions of higher education. Therefore, Ali Khamenei has violated Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 18, 19, and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which uphold that unfair treatment due to religious beliefs is a clear example of a human rights violation.
- Abuses by Judicial and Security Authorities
The heads of the Judiciary, appointees of Seyyed Ali Khamenei since 1989, have been directly and indirectly involved in the execution of all death sentences and punitive amputations. Arbitrary detentions, torture, false accusations, and the general suppression of political dissidents, human rights defenders, and civil society activists, are ongoing violations perpetrated by judicial and security authorities throughout Ali Khamenei’s tenure as Supreme Leader.
 Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “1.Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law. 2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes
incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”
 Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
 Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” Article 19 of the Covenant states: “1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” Article 27 of the Covenant: “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.”
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