Why Isn't Fugitive Ex-Prosecutor In Prison? Asks Iranian Lawmaker

A reformist lawmaker in Iran has demanded answers over why a former prosecutor remains free, more than four months after he was sentenced to prison over the death of a protester.

The member of parliament, Fateme Saidi, has submitted a request to question the interior and justice ministers to find out "quite simply whether any action has been taken to arrest Said Mortazavi," the semiofficial ILNA news agency reported on April 18.

Mortazavi, former chief prosecutor for the capital, Tehran, was sentenced to two years in prison in November 2017 for complicity in the death of a person arrested during Iran's 2009 antigovernment protests.

Last week, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said that while a warrant has been issued for Mortazavi's arrest, the authorities had "not been successful in getting [their] hands on him."

"Considering Iran's abysmal record prosecuting human rights abusers, it would not be surprising that certain authorities want to shield Mortazavi from facing justice," Human Rights Watch Iran researcher Tara Sepehrifar wrote on April 14.

During his six years as Tehran's prosecutor and before that as a judge, Mortazavi was linked to the closure of dozens of reformist publications and the jailing of dozens of journalists.

He is blacklisted by the United States and the European Union for "grave violations of human rights."

These violations included the arrest of "hundreds of activists, journalists, and students" during the 2009 mass protests against the disputed reelection of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Mortazavi was suspended by the judiciary in 2014 in connection with the 2009 deaths of three protesters in a detention center in Tehran.

Based on reporting by AFP and ILNA