Saied Mortazavi, the infamous former Tehran Prosecutor General known as the “butcher of the press” and the killer of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was pardoned by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Despite being formally charged as “the main culprit in the scandal” over the Kahrizak Detention Center, where protesters challenging the 2009 elections in Iran were tortured, raped and killed, he was never sentenced and the circumstances of the so-called trials that were held behind closed doors during that time are unknown.
The only time Mortazavi was ever sentenced was related to a case regarding social security offenses when he was the Head of the Social Security Organization. He was sentenced to 70 lashes on charges of “seizing public property” and another 65 lashes for “neglect of duty and wasting the property of the state”.
According to the ISNA state-run News Agency, he was pardoned of both charges by Khamenei.
Reports indicate that Mortazavi was responsible for the death, torture and even rape of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi who had come to Iran around 15 years ago in 2003 to see her family.
In late 2003, the Iranian Parliament issued a report accusing Mortazavi of trying to cover up Kazemi’s death and forcing witnesses to change their stories.
The Canadian government still maintains that not only did Mortazavi order Kazemi’s arrest, but he also supervised her torture and was present when she was killed.
The European Union has included Mortazavi in list of 82 people, sanctioned as violators of human rights.
According to Reporters Without Borders, more than 250 journalists were jailed by Saied Mortazavi while still more were threatened and summoned on based on his verdict.
In 2005, journalists reported receiving death threats after testifying about their torture at the command of Mortazevi.