Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is an Iranian cleric and judge and the current attorney-general of Iran since 1 April 2016. He was previously head of Iran’s Administrative Justice Court and Special Clerical Court;
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri (Montazeri), Iran’s Prosecutor General, also referred to as the Attorney General, oversees prosecutions and the enforcement of criminal judgments throughout Iran, including such actions brought in Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, the primary venue for charging those arrested in the protests. In late September, Montazeri issued a directive to courts to act “decisively” and issue harsh sentences to many of those arrested during the ongoing protests. The case of the first executed protestor, a young man named Mohsen Shekari, proceeded with little resemblance to a meaningful trial, according to multiple international sources. Mr. Shekari was charged with blocking a street and attacking a security force member in Tehran who needed stitches. There is evidence that Mr. Shekari was tortured and denied access to a lawyer. He was executed less than three weeks after his conviction.
Observers have consistently documented the use of torture by Iranian authorities during investigations for the purpose of extracting confessions. Defendants reportedly have also been denied the right to be represented by counsel during trials before the Revolutionary Courts. Iranian authorities have used sham Revolutionary Court trials to issue at least a dozen death sentences for protesters. Dozens more, including persons under the age of eighteen years old, are expected to be tried on capital charges in connection with protests.
Montazeri is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being an official of the Government of Iran or a person acting on behalf of the Government of Iran (including members of paramilitary organizations) who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or the family members of the foregoing, on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran.
Human Rights Abuse
– Deputy of Parliamentary Affairs of the Ministry of Justice (1989 – 1999)
– Supreme Leaders Special Inspector in the Judiciary (29 Jan 1991 – May 1991)
– First Deputy to the Attorney General (2001 – 2005)
– Advisor to the Head of Judiciary (2005 – 2009)
– Supreme Leader’s Special Inspector in Judiciary (2005 – 2006)
– Head of the Court of Administrative Justice (Aug 2009 – 3 Apr 2016)
– Head of Branch 1 of Revolutionary Court, Tehran (Aug 2009 – 3 Apr 2016)
– Founder of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces (1988)
– Head of the Special Clerical Court (Aug 2009 – present)
– Attorney General (3 Apr 2016 – present)
During his tenures in various high-profile positions within the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri has become complicit in serious human rights violations.
– Human Rights Violation: Violation of Bahai minority’s rights ( 10 Feb 2015)
– Human Rights Violation: Participation in the suppression of peaceful protests (November 2019)
– Human Rights Violation: Arresting environmental activists ( Feb 2018)
– Human Rights Violation: Violation of Gonabadi Derwish minority’s rights ( 19 Feb- June 2018)
– Human Rights Violation: Murder of Mohammad Raji in prison ( 4 March 2018)
– Human Rights Violation: Suppression of protests ( Dec 2017-Jan 2018)
– Human Rights Violation: Violation of Bahai minority’s rights ( 2016)
– Human Rights Violation: Censoring the Internet ( 3 April 2016-Present)
– Human Rights Violation: Violation of women’s rights (3 Apr 2016 – present)
– Oppressing Baha’i Citizens
As Chief Justice of the Administrative Justice Court, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri played a key role in the religious persecution of Baha’i Citizens. Montazeri denied them access to education by ruling that Baha’i citizens are forbidden from university enrollment. He has also claimed that the Baha’i religion was invented by British and Israel governments, and that it is wrong to acknowledge Baha’i people in society or have social and economic relationships with them.
– Filtering Cyberspace
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri is the main member of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace. Therefore, Montazeri is responsible for the filtering of internet and the censorship and surveillance of internet users. He has claimed that 16,000 to 20,000 Telegram channels are censored every week and stated that this figure is not satisfactory enough, calling for stricter censorship of cyberspace.
– Suppressing December-January 2018 Protests
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri played a key role in suppressing the late 2017/ early 2018 anti-regime protests by publicly stating that the Judiciary and Ministry of Intelligence forces would react harshly to anyone who disrupts civil order. Montazeri also asked people to identify the protesters to intelligence forces. He also failed to investigate and covered-up the suspicious deaths of several protesters.
– Deaths of Detainees
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri failed to investigate the suspicious deaths of Sina Ghanbari and Vahid Heidari. Both men died in detention. Montazeri claimed that the deaths were suicides and the men were drug addicts, but these claims were never proven by evidence. In the case of Sina Ghanbari, a video released by authorities, claiming to show his suicide, did not depict any such event and only showed the bathroom at Evin Prison where Montazeri claimed Ghanbari committed suicide. In the case of Vahid Heidari, lawyer Mohammad Najafi claimed Heidari was murdered in prison and was found with a 10 cm laceration on his head. Mohammad Najafi was subsequently imprisoned for criticizing the regime.
– Oppressing Gonabadi Dervishes
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri is responsible for the torture, unfair trials, and heavy sentences carried out against members of the Gonabadi Dervish community. Montazeri has claimed that the Judiciary has reason to believe the demonstrations by the community have foreign origins and has described the Dervishes as an unruly mob.
Montazeri is also responsible for the deaths of two Gonabadi Dervishes, Mohammad Raji and Mohammad Salas.
In the case of Mohammad Raji, Montazeri denied the claim that Mohammad Raji was killed in detention. Raji’s daughter, Tayebeh stated that her father was arrested and beaten earlier that year, so severely that he was in an emergency condition. Just before his death, she said authorities called her family and instructed them to bring Mohammad Raji’s photos and identity documents to the police station. There, they were told that a detainee, implying Raji, is in a coma after being beaten. Authorities called the family later to announce his death.
In the case of Mohammad Salas, Montazeri’s prosecutors tried and executed the Gonabadi Dervish unfairly. Salas was accused of killing a group of police officers during a demonstration. There were many inconsistencies and ambiguities in the arguments and evidence used against him. Salas was executed depite this and also having denied the charges. He was also deprived of access to his lawyer at several critical points in his trial.
– Protests Against Forced Hijab
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri is responsible for the arrests and heavy sentences carried out against young women peacefully protesting compulsory hijab laws. Montazeri appeared on a television program and threatened protesters, stating that the regime would not stay silent about the protests. Montazeri described the protesters’ actions as criminal and sinful. He also demeaned the protesters and their movement by calling their actions immature and claiming that they are being led by foreign influences.
– Oppressing Environmentalists
As Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri is responsible for the arrests, torture, and imprisonment of environmentalists. Montazeri has claimed that a group of environmentalists were U.S. and Israeli spies using wildlife surveillance cameras to monitor areas of the country. He has charged them with espionage and ‘propaganda against the regime.’
Montazeri is also responsible for the covering-up and failing to investigate the suspicious death of Kavous Seyed-Emami while in prison. He claimed that Seyed-Emami’s death was a suicide.
Also Known As:
(Persian: محمدجعفر منتظری;)
Date of Birth:
21 Jan 1949 to 19 Feb 1949
Reason for the color:
» Added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on December 21, 2022 pursuant to Executive Order 13553 for being an official of the Government of Iran or a person acting on behalf of the Government of Iran (including members of paramilitary organizations) who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or the family members of the foregoing, on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran;