Iran's UN Human Rights appointees: no friends of net, press

Writer Nasrin Alavi on controversial appointments to the new UN Human Rights Council of two men known for extreme human rights abuses against reporters and bloggers:

The launch of the new body was witnessed by two Iranian representatives whose human-rights records – even by the standards of the Islamic Republic – are infamous: justice minister Jamal Karimirad and Tehran's prosecutor-general Saeed Mortazavi.

Mortazavi was the presiding judge of the infamous Court 1410 and hailed as the "butcher of the press" for his vicious rulings against journalists and free thinkers. He is credited with the closure of more than 100 publications and the harassment and imprisonment of many writers, activists, lawyers and bloggers in recent years. Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer and Nobel laureate, has even accused Mortazavi of being present in 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed.

Link to full text. (Thanks, Cyrus!)

Reader comment: Scott says,

It goes rather further than what you report. Saeed Mortazavi wasn't merely present when Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed, but (as noted in this NPR report), Iranian reports say he ordered her arrest and supervised the torture.

Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay recently said that Canada wants "this creature brought to justice."

The report also notes that a report by Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami said that Mortazavi's men beat her, pulled out her fingernails, brutally raped her, and killed her.