What would an indictment of Ayatollah Khamenei look like? Thousands, if not millions, victims of the Iranian regime around the world have undoubtedly wondered. Reporters Without Borders has offered an aide to the imagination with a faux “indictment” of the “Supreme Leader” and the system of government he established. It reads in full:
You are one of the Iranian regime’s founders and, as such, one of the architects of the system of repression and censorship that has been in place in Iran since 1979.
As Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor, you stepped up persecution of journalists and demonized the foreign media and new media.
In view of your responsibilities ever since the Islamists seized power in Iran, Reporters Without Borders accuses you of the following crimes:
-As head of the Revolutionary Guards (1978-1980), president (1981-1989) and finally Supreme Leaders since June 1989, you are guilty of arbitrary arrests, illegal imprisonment and torture. You are responsible for the disappearance of at least 100 intellectuals, journalists and netizens from 1979 until now.
-You participated in the executions of the journalists Ali Asgar Amirani, Simon Farzami, Nasrollah Arman, Said Soltanpour and Rahman Hatefi-Monfared.
-You instigated the murders of many other dissident journalists such as Ebrahim Zalzadeh, Majid Charif, Mohamad Mokhtari, Mohamad Jafar Pouyandeh and Pirouz Davani.
-You covered up the atrocities that intelligence ministry officials committed in November and December 1998. The deaths in detention of Zahra Kazemi (2003), Ayfer Serce (2006), young blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi (2009) and Sattar Beheshti (2012) are all directly attributable to you.
-You have fostered arbitrary rule and impunity. None of the perpetrators of the preceding abuses – including key judicial system ministers and officials close to you (Mohamad Raishahri, Mostafa Pourmohamadi, Golamhossien Mohsseni Ejehi, Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi and Said Mortazavi) – have ever been brought to justice. Worse still, they have been appointed or promoted to senior posts with your approval.
-Again, it was you who, on 20 April 2000, gave the order for a crackdown on the reformist press that had emerged in the wake of Mohammad Khatami’s election as president in 1997. Since then, more than 300 news media have been designated as “foreign enemies inside the country” and closed, thousands of pages have been censored and more than 500 journalists and netizens have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured and given very harsh sentences, while many others have had to flee the country. The crackdown is now targeting new media and satellite TV stations that broadcast to Iran from abroad. Your country is currently one of the world’s biggest prisons for news providers.
-You are also the inventor of a “Halal” (national) Internet and promoter of a “digital apartheid,” which your regulatory bodies are imposing on the Iranian people.
You should be called to account for these gross violations of freedom of information, which contravene article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.