News

June 19, 2020

Sudden death in Bucharest of Iranian judge responsible for torture of journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) regrets that the Romanian and German authorities did not immediately arrest former Iranian judge Gholamreza Mansouri when RSF filed complaints against him last week, as this would have prevented his sudden death today when he fell or was pushed from his sixth-floor hotel room in Bucharest.

Wanted on corruption charges In Iran, he was also responsible for the persecution, detention and torture of at least 20 journalists in Iran in 2013.  After learning of his presence in Germany, RSF filed a complaint against there on 11 June, calling for his immediate arrest. It filed a second complaint against him in Romania on 13 June as soon as it learned he had gone there.

 

 

“This sudden death deprives the victims of a trial,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “It is shocking that the German and Romanian authorities did not arrest him at once in response to RSF’s complaint for crimes against humanity, in accordance with their international obligations. The worst could have been avoided and justice could have been rendered.”

 

 

Mansouri’s death has again demonstrated the urgent need for prosecutors to act with the utmost speed in response to such complaints. RSF now calls for a judicial inquiry to be conducted as quickly and transparently as possible in order to determine the circumstances of his death.

 

 

In 2011, Mansouri became a prosecutor with the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office for Culture and Media, which is often used to persecute journalists. RSF held him responsible for the persecution, arbitrary detention and torture of 20 Iranian journalists in 2013, during the wave of arrests that he ordered from January to March of that year.

 

 

In the past few days, one of his victims, Mehdi Mahdavi Azad, a journalist now living in self-imposed exile in Germany, has described to media outlets how  he was tortured after being arrested on Mansouri’s orders.

 

 

Iran is ranked 173rd out of 180 countries and territories inRSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index, three places lower than in 2019.