An Iranian citizen has been charged in Sweden with war crimes and murder in connection with the mass executions of political prisoners in his home country 33 years ago, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
In its announcement of the indictment, the Swedish prosecutors said the executions came near the end of the Iran-Iraq War.
In the conflict’s final stages Iran was attacked several times by an armed branch of the People’s Mujahedin.
“The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, shortly afterwards issued an order to execute all prisoners held in Iranian prisons who sympathized with and were loyal in their convictions to the Mujahedin,” prosecutors said in a statement
“Following this order, a large number of such prisoners were executed between July 30 and August 16, 1988, in the Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran.”
According to the indictment, the defendant had at the time been an assistant to the deputy prosecutor at the prison. He is alleged to have participated in the mass executions and subjected “prisoners to severe suffering which is deemed torture and inhuman treatment.”
According to Swedish radio and the TT news agency, the 60-year-old denies the charges.
His trial is scheduled to begin August 10 in the Stockholm District Court. He had been arrested in late 2019 after landing at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. He has been in pre-trial detention since.
“This extensive investigation resulting in this indictment shows that even though these acts were committed beyond Sweden’s territory and for more than three decades ago, they can be subject to legal proceedings in Sweden,” said Public Prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carleson.