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Iran executes killer of prison chief

TEHRAN, March 14 (AFP) - Iran has executed the killer of former prison chief Assadollah Lajevardi who was gunned down in August, Tehran's revolutionary court announced on Sunday.

Ali Asghar Ghazanfarnejad Jolodar, said to be a member of Iran's main armed opposition movement the People's Mujahedeen, was executed Saturday at Tehran's Evin prison, the court said in a statement, the official IRNA news agency reported.

It said the court sentenced the "terrorist" to death on charges of making "war against the Islamic republic" by supporting the Mujahedeen, involvement in the murder and being "corrupt on earth," IRNA said.

Lajevardi, 63, and two other justice officials were gunned down outside his tailor's shop prison in Tehran's Grand Bazaar on August 23 (eds: correct).

A second "terrorist" responsible for the killings committed suicide by swallowing cyanide, the agency said.

The attack was claimed at the time by the Baghdad-based Mujahedeen.

IRNA said Jolodar had gone AWOL from the military and fled to Iraq in 1996 where he joined the Mujahedeen and then returned with a comrade "in an attempt to harm the Islamic republic."

A close follower of Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Lajevardi himself was arrested several times during the shah's reign and tortured in Evin prison, where he was appointed director following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

He was accused of overseeing widespread acts of torture and other human-rights violations in the 1980s, when the Islamic regime waged a merciless campaign against opposition groups.

Lajevardi was promoted in 1989 to the post of director of the country's prison system, a position he held until February last year when he was quietly removed.

His dismissal followed allegations of torture of Tehran municipality officials who were in prison on charges of embezzlement, although the two incidents were not publicly linked.


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