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Human Rights Violator: Mohsen Araki

By July 7, 2019 No Comments

Full Name:

Mohsen Mohammadi-Araghi (a.k.a. Mohsen Araki)

Biography[1]:

Mohsen Araki was born in Najaf, Iraq 1955. He graduated from a seminary.

Positions[2]:

  • Judge at the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Abadan and Khorramshahr in 1980
  • Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Khuzestan since 1981
  • Chief Justice of Khuzestan Province from 1982 to 1983
  • Founder of the military wing of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (later known as the Badr Corps) in 1983
  • Representative of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist and Friday Prayer Imam in Dezful from 1986 to 1989
  • Sharia Judge at the board for land transfer in Khuzestan from 1983 to 2004
  • Representative of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz from 1990 to 1995
  • Member of the Assembly of Experts 1990 to 1994
  • Head and founder of the Islamic Centre of England and numerous other Islamic centres throughout England from 1995 to 2004
  • Secretary-General of The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, by the appointment of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei from 2012 until present

Human Rights Violations:

As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Khuzestan, Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki has been responsible for torture, murder, extrajudicial executions, summary trials and disproportionately long prison sentences for Arab activists.

  • Extrajudicial Executions and Summary Trials

On 30 May 1979, bloody clashes occurred between the Arab followers of Ayatollah Shoubair Khaghani and IRGC forces and Navy commanders in Khorramshahr. These clashes, during which hundreds of people including Arab citizens were killed, became known as ‘Black Wednesday’. Following Black Wednesday, government forces arrested many Arab activists in Khuzestan, who were later sentenced to death or long prison terms during summary trials.

Kosar Al- Ali, a political prisoner at Karun Prison from 1971 to 1981, has testified to Justice for Iran about the role that Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki played in issuing death sentences for dozens of Arab activists:

‘Many people were arrested during the protests in Mohammareh (Khorramshahr). They just took people en masse from the villages to the Commerce School. My brother-in-law was one of those arrested. Within an hour or two, they were all tried and told that they are sentenced to death. Tiz-Maghz was the Prosecutor and Araki was the Sharia Judge. They all received a death sentence.’

Mansour Asl-Sharhani, a political prisoner at Fajr and Karun prisoners in Ahvaz (from 1982 until 1988) names Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki as the main perpetrator of issuing death sentences for political prisoners during his testimony to Justice for Iran:

‘I was in prison when I heard Ansari was executed. At the time, [Mohsen Mohammadi-]Araki was still the religious judge issuing all the sentences. Mahmoud Bolverdi, a member of the Communist Alliance, also got executed on Araki’s order. When in detention, he used to say loudly that, ‘I will fight until the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.’ They didn’t give him a chance. They executed him after five days. His pregnant wife, who was arrested with him, gave birth in prison after his martyrdom.

Mr. Ahvazi was another victim of Araki’s executions. Ahvazi was the director of the Communist Alliance in Khuzestan. For carrying out the executions, they would come at night and take a group of the prisoners outside to a remote area of the cemetery. They called that area Lanat Abad (the Damned Land) themselves, which is now attached to the main area of the cemetery due to the increase in the number of deceased. They took them there, and shot them, and threw them in mass graves. When we saw them taking someone there in the middle of the night, we knew that they’re going to shoot them there and bury them there, too.’

A witness and member of the Bani-Tamim Tribe, who was one of Ayatollah Shoubair Khaghani’s followers after the 1979 revolution, has told Justice for Iran that he recalls Shoubair Khaghani being arrested on the direct order of Khomeini and sent to Tehran, after which many of his followers were executed.

He said about Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki’s issuance of execution sentences:

‘After the raid on Ayatollah Shoubairi’s[sic] house in 1358, Araki was appointed as Abadan’s religious judge. After that, some people were executed in the Shatitte area (a suburb of Abadan with a predominantly Arab population). I know one of the youngest who got executed…[His name was] Abdullah Bichari…They took him from the middle school. He was not even 15. They took him to Shatitte and asked him if he is still a follower of Mr. Shoubair. He had said yes. He was a teenager, and so he spoke on his emotions…’

  • The Torture and Murder of Ali Bahrameh

Khosrow Kiazand, was arrested in early 1982 alongside many other political prisoners of Khuzestan Province. He testified to Justice for Iran about Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki’s involvement in the torture and murder of Ali Bahrameh:

‘When they were saying that Ali Bahrameh has died under interrogations, they called the Head of the Revolutionary Court, whose name was Araki. He came and looked at them, saying with an insulting tone, ‘Bury him. Throw him out.’ They knew no boundary in the interrogation. After Bahrameh was killed under torture, our cases were closed…’

  • Torture and Disproportionate Sentences

Mansour Asl-Sharhani also testified to Justice for Iran that Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki, the then-religious judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Khuzestan, witnessed the torture of prisoners and was aware of the violent manner in which interrogations were carried out:

‘The Revolutionary Court’s building was originally that of a school. It was an L-shaped building with two entrances, one opened towards an ice factory and the other across from a shrine. The solitary confinement cells and other prison rooms were on one side and the interrogation rooms, administrative offices and the Revolutionary Court, where Araki was working and issuing the sentences at the time, were on the other side. They were all in one building, and not just Araki, but all those who worked there could see the torture and interrogations as they were happening, because that location was in view of their location.’

Mansour Asl-Sharhani explains some of the torture methods he endured in detention:

‘They chained both my hands to the back of the chair. He put my leg on the chair in front of me, my foot sticking out. Then some overweight man sat on my shin as someone started flogging my feet. With his flog, he would hit my feet, they hit my head as that person was sitting on my leg. I was in this state for probably half-an-hour. Then, he pressed on my head downwards until my head passed between my legs. Even though I was young and only 68 kilograms, one could not expect much flexibility from me in that situation. Then, I think I moved due to the pain, that caused the chair to fall and my legs slipped from that chair. The man fell with all his weight on my legs. I blacked-out for a few seconds. They dragged me by my legs, and I was thinking to myself that my legs are amputated…’

Asl-Sharhani has told Justice for Iran about the details of the trials Mohsen Mohammadi-Araki held for him and dozens of other political prisoners:

 ‘One day in 1982, they took us from the Karun Prison to the Revolutionary Court. As we were being taken there, we knew that it’s a court, but what we didn’t know was whether the court was for torture or trial. They said, ‘Get up, hurry up, and wear your blindfold.’ Then, they took us from the corridor into a room, where Araki was in the front, so we realized it’s the court. His real name was Araghi, though, before changing into Araki. They tried 30 people in one minute.

We were all seated, Araki was sitting on a chair, one leg folded underneath him, while the other leg was hanging from the chair. As we sat down, he started insulting us heavily; ‘Dumbasses! You thought the Islamic Republic would fall? Who do you think you are? A bunch of baby goats!’ [He said] things like that.

Someone else was also sitting there. I still remember his face. There were two or three guards behind him. I was watching him quietly. My friend said, ‘Haj Agha, wait. What’s going on? What do you want? Tell us something.’ [Araki] said, ‘I will not allow anyone to speak. You and you and you,’ as he was looking at me, he said, ‘take them.’ The officer asked, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Go.’

In the end, I didn’t figure out what this trial was for. This was our trial. Nobody asked what we have done, neither if these claims are true, or false. Without anyone else, six officers were there, four officers brought us, two officers were with him. I found out about my sentence only when they published it in the newspaper, which was first announced as 15 years in prison.’

[1] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Araki-1.pdf

[2] https://justice4iran.org/persian/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Araki-2.pdf