The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, is one of three senior officials targeted in a rare criminal complaint filed with Paris prosecutors Thursday.

Along with Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib and Al-Quds force chief Esmail Qaani, Salami is accused of “death threats and justifying terrorism,” a lawyer for the six Iranian and Franco-Iranian plaintiffs said.

Their case refers to public threats issued by the three men between December 2022 and January 2023 against people backing the nationwide protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested for violating Iran’s female dress code.

Khatib said on December 13 last year that “anyone playing a role in the riots will be punished, wherever they are in the world”.

The declaration was spread widely in the press and on social media, according to the text of the criminal complaint seen by AFP.

Meanwhile, Salami himself said on January 10 that “the French people and the managers of (satirical anti-clerical magazine) Charlie Hebo” should not “concern themselves with the fate of Salman Rushdie”.

The British author has long been subject to a fatwa calling for his killing issued by Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and was gravely wounded in an August 2022 knife attack. Charlie Hebdo staff were massacred by jihadist gunmen in 2015 after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

“These threats are in fact just so many disguised fatwas” — an Islamic legal decree — against Iranian opposition activists around the world, said Chirinne Ardakani, a French-Iranian lawyer from the Iran Justice Collective.

“The regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its agents are keeping up a long tradition of threatening Iranian opposition figures in exile with death, hunting and murdering them on French and European soil,” the 22-page legal complaint read.

Some living in France since the 1980s and others recently exiled, the six plaintiffs include a filmmaker, a journalist, a writer and an LGBT rights activist, all of whom have made public stands against Tehran.

Their largely symbolic complaint marks the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022 — which triggered the “Woman. Life. Freedom” movement across Iran.

“It’s about showing the Iranian regime, which wants to suffocate opposition, that wherever Iranians are in the world, they will continue to make themselves heard,” Ardakani said.

“We’re sending up balloons, we’re using every avenue offered by French law, but the final aim is to have the perpetrators of atrocities prosecuted and brought to justice in France,” she added.

The France-based Iran Justice Collective has been documenting abuses and repression against demonstrators over the past year, which the group says have resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.

Source » france24