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Iranian National Detained In Sweden Over Suspected Role In 1988 Mass Executions

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A file photo of a protest in Washington, D.C. showing images of the alleged victims of state-sponsored executions of Iranian political prisoners.

An Iranian citizen has been remanded in custody in Sweden on suspicion of carrying out crimes against humanity and murder in the late 1980s in Iran.

Swedish Prosecutor Karolina Wieslander said on November 13 that the unidentified man was suspected of committing the crimes between July 28, 1988, and August 31, 1988, in Tehran. The prosecutor did not elaborate.

His lawyer, Lars Hultgren, told the Swedish news agency TT that the man insists he is innocent, adding "they have taken the wrong guy."

The 58-year-old man was reportedly arrested on November 9 at Stockholm’s international airport.

Sweden-based activist Iraj Mesdaghi and human rights lawyer Kaveh Moussavi told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that they have documents proving that the man served as a judge at the Gohardasht prison on the outskirts of the city of Karaj west of the capital Tehran.

They claim that the man had played an "active role" in the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners, during which several thousand members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), leftist groups, students, and others were executed in Iran's prisons in what Amnesty International describes as "a coordinated effort to eliminate political opposition."

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, called the arrest an “important first step towards justice for the 1988 massacre.”

“This would be the very first time that someone is charged in relation to the events,” Callamard tweeted.

The London-based rights group has called on the United Nations to establish an "independent, impartial and effective international mechanism" to help bring those responsible for the extrajudicial executions to justice.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, AP, and the BBC
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