Human Rights

Germany Doesn’t Arrest Iranian Cleric Accused of Crimes against Humanity, Lets him Leave

Germany has allowed Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the former head of Iran’s judiciary accused of crimes against humanity, to flee the country on Thursday for Iran, after the cleric received medical treatment for a brain tumor, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post.

Shahroudi, who served in office from 1999 to 2009, stands accused by critics of having ordered some 2,000 executions, including adolescents, during his time as Iran’s top lawmaker. The 69-year-old ayatollah had been in Germany since December 21 on medical grounds.

“Germany has a choice,” Dr. Michael Rubin, an Iran expert with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told the newspaper. “Does it want to be a safe haven for terrorists and mass murderers? Alas, for Sigmar Gabriel [Germany’s foreign minister], it seems that the answer was and is ‘yes.’ But why should principle matter if German businesses can make an extra million euros?”

Shahroudi escaped on Iran Air’s flight 722 that departed Hamburg for Tehran, while a diverse group of around 80 Iranian dissidents demonstrated at the airport. They demanded: “Arrest Shahroudi!” and chanted “Down with Khamenei! Down with Rouhani!” in video footage that was later posted on social media.

Prominent German Green Party politician and human rights activist Volker Beck filed criminal complaints against Shahroudi together with the German Kurdish community. Both the federal prosecutor and the state prosecutor in Lower Saxony opened investigations into the allegations of crimes against humanity conducted by Shahroudi in the Islamic Republic.

Beck told the newspaper: “Germany should not be a sanctuary for such people, who in their country persecute people for political or religious reasons and threaten them with death. The Iranian regime persecutes women who were raped, homosexuals, Baha’is, Kurds and atheists.”

He added: “It would be a big mistake if the federal government provides diplomatic immunity here to the organizer of mass murders through Iran’s justice system. We should not be a health resort for human rights violators, rather they should be held accountable.”

The human rights NGO, Stop the Bomb, urged the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel in January to end its tactical support for Iran’s regime. The country’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is a leading advocate for trade deals with the Islamic Republic.

Recently, he came under fire after the Gaza-based terror organization Hamas used a statement by Gabriel for propaganda purposes, after the minister had compared the treatment of Palestinians by Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
[Photo: Gayle Robles / YouTube]