Hardline revolutionary courts chief replaced
TEHRAN, April 17 (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary chief Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi
has removed a renowned hardliner from the head of the country's feared
Revolutionary Courts, the official IRNA news agency said on Monday.
Ali Mobasheri, a former judge at Tehran's Court of Appeals, has been
named the new chief judge of the Revolutionary Courts, the agency said.
His predecessor, Gholamhossein Rahbarpour, has been transferred to the
Administrative Justice Tribunal.
``Rahbarpour was a known hardliner, so in itself this is a good sign
for judicial reforms. But Revolutionary Court judges act independently
and they may well not be willing to change,'' Ali Khosravi, a private attorney,
He said Rahbarpour, an outspoken conservative, would retain influence
in his new post. ``Deputy chief of the Administrative Justice Tribunal
is still a big job for him, but in a less sensitive area.''
Rahbarpour was heavily criticised by Iranian lawyers last year for calling
13 Iranian Jews held on espionage charges spies, before their trial had
``It is clear that these persons are spies, there is no doubt about
that,'' he had said. The judiciary was forced to clarify his statements
amid domestic and international uproar.
Rahbarpour had also announced the death sentence of students arrested
after pro-democracy protests in Iran last July. The students, at least
one of whom has protested to being tortured during detention, remain on
Legal experts say that the judiciary chief Shahroudi, appointed last
August, appears keen to overhaul the justice system but faces serious opposition.
``Serious reforms have not taken place, there have been some some replacements
but not in the scale of true reforms,'' Khosravi said. ``Shahroudi's powers