The naming of the notorious Tehran prosecutor to a new post as deputy prosecutor-general gives him a fancy title and protection from future legal action, but
strips him of his power to pursue his hardline political agenda, said two Iranian lawyers.
Saeed Mortazavi, the jurist behind Tehran’s so-called show trials, was removed from his post as the city’s main prosecutor and reassigned as a deputy to the nation’s top prosecutor.
Some analysts and legal experts have called Mortazavi’s new post “a promotion” that signals Iran’s intent to continue its current legal course under new judicairy chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani.
“When he was Tehran public prosecutor he could only issue arrest warrants for people in Tehran,” said Khalil Bahramian, a human rights lawyer in the capital. “Now he can do the same nationwide.”
Not so fast, say Saleh Nikbakht and Mohammad-Hossein Aghassi, two Iranian trial lawyers who for years have been fighting for human rights in Iran’s legal trenches.
“From a bureaucratic and formal angle it seems like a promotion,” said Aghassi, who defended Radio Farda journalist Parnaz Azima when she was charged with committing crimes against national security in 2007.
“But in terms of the power to issue arrest warrants or issue verdict or sue anyone, it is a demotion because he has been stripped of all powers he had enjoyed,” he said.