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The Case Of Gholamreza Mansouri : A Déjà-vu

Gholamreza Mansouri has become an infamous celebrity overnight! He's been accused of many crimes, including mass arrest of journalists, internet censorship and accepting 500,000Euros in bribe. Where is he now?!

January 2018, Islamic Republic’s former Chief of Judiciary, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, was admitted to Hanover’s International Neuroscience Institute (INI) in Germany, established and run by Professor Majid Samii, a renowned Iranian-German neurosurgeon. At the time, no one knew his diagnosis or prognosis. According to Hannoversche Allgemeine, about 200 Iranians gather outside the specialized clinic and demand Shahroudi to be prosecuted for his horrific crimes, responsible for killing more than 2000 dissents including refusing to grant death sentence appeal request to a 13-year-old in 2007. Shahroudi doesn’t like law enforcement closing in and on January 11, 2018 left Germany for Tehran. He died on December 24, 2018, believing to have been from cancer.

June 2018, was the first time Gholamreza Mansouri’s name was mentioned in the same context as Germany. Human rights activists claimed he was under treatment at INI by Prof.Samii, which was denied by both Samii and Interior Minister of Lower Saxony State. Samii told police twice, “Mansouri is not here and has never planned to stay here at any time.” However, Foreign Ministry confirmed that Mansouri has been issued a 2-year Schengen visa by German Embassy in Tehran in March 2017, allowing him to stay at any of the Schengen area countries for a period of maximum 90 days.

Sven-Christian Kindler, a Hanover representative at Bundestag (German Parliament) and a member of Green party, followed up with the Foreign Ministry and criticized why Mansouri was issued a visa. He writes this on his website on June 25, 2018: “Once again, an Iranian judge received a visa to enter Germany. That seems to bee Federal Government’s method. Iranian judge Gholamreza Mansouri, like Shahroudi, is a central pillar of the Iranian regime, which is trampling on human rights. As a judge in Iran, Mansouri implements the Internet censorship, newspaper ban and is responsible for the mass arrests of Iranian journalists. Anyone who carries out censorship in Iran, sends journalists to prison and supports the Iranian regime of terror should not get a visa to Germany. The Federal Government and the judiciary must not look away from human rights criminals. Who does the Federal Government in Iran actually feel obliged to: The people in Iran who stand up for their rights, journalists,who stand for freedom of the press or the active helpers of the Iranian dictatorship? It seems that human rights in Iran are more of a nuisance to the federal government.”

4 days later, on June 29, 2018, he asked two questions from the Foreign Ministry in Bundestag, “Why Mansouri was issued a visa and where is he currently?”, and received the same answer. “There is no evidence that Mr Gholamreza Mansouri has entered the country at any point.”

His name has resurfaced in recent days, again in context with Germany! Apparently, other than being a ghoul, Mansouri is one of the most corrupt judges in Islamic Republic’s Judiciary, or should say, one of the ones who got caught red handed. According to prosecutors of Akbar Tabari’s corruption case (a deputy to former Chief of Judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani), Tabari has bribed 500,000 Euros to Mansouri who was a judge at Lavasanat Court to sway his judgement in favor of Tabari on a land and construction project dispute. The same prosecutors also suggest that, Mansouri has fled Iran after Tabari’s arrest, a year ago.

Mansouri posts a self-recorded video on June 8, from a closed space with no marking, wearing a navy turtle neck, claiming he’s abroad for treatment and will go to the Islamic Republic’s Embassy tomorrow to find out how to get back home, but doesn’t mention his whereabouts. He says, he trusts Islamic Republic, the Supreme Leader and the Judiciary system and as soon as travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic are lifted, he will be on his way.

Immediately after this video, social media is filled with Iranians showing their anger at Germany’s government, assuming he is back at INI in Hanover based on Shahroudi’s history and the fact that Young Journalists Club, a news agency close to Islamic Republic’s intelligence community starts the rumor that he’s in Samii’s clinic. Immediately, some opportunistic people like AFD representatives hear the alarms, starting to make a wave to earn some sympathy and credit by accompanying Iranian dissents. In the meantime, Omid Nouripour, a member of Green party, and Bijan Djir-Sarai, a member of Free Democratic Party (FDP), demanded an explanation from the Federal Government that how this could happen again.

On June 9, newspapers in Iran publish the falsehood of Mansouri’s claim, saying he never showed up at Islamic Republic’s Embassy in Germany. And the prosecutors said they will summon Mansouri to court whenever necessary! Do they know where he is, then?! On June 10, the same prosecutor said, “Manouri had left his phone in Iran to fool us into thinking that he hadn’t left Iran.”

On June 10, Germany’s Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry respond by saying, Gholamreza Mansouri doesn’t possess a valid visa and there is no record of him entering or staying in Hanover or any other parts of Germany. In a statement, head of INI announces a response in the same lines, “Gholamreza Mansouri has never been and is not a patient under care at this clinic.”

At the same time, Jungle World magazine, published an open letter from Mina Ahadi, an exiled Iranian living in Austria, expressing her anger towards Angela Merkel and Germany’s policy towards the “Islamic criminals.” She mentions all Mansouris’s heinous crimes and finish her letter by asking Merkel to stop appeasing Mullahs and change Germany’s approach towards Islamic Republic criminal regime.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Gholamreza Mansouri was the judge who ordered the arrest of at least 20 journalists in Iran and tortured some of them when in custody, in 2013. He was also the one ordering to block Telegram in Iran.

After all, it looks like Gholamreza Mansouri is not in Germany. But in the meantime, there are petitions and “complaints” circulating on social media asking German prosecutors to not let Mansouri escape justice! In addition, it looks like some people are taking advantage of any little hope Iranian dissents on social media may have. This could also cause disappointment of those activists if these “complaints” lead nowhere.

In the meantime, if I were a betting man, I would bet Gholamreza Mansouri is either in Iran or have fled to northern countries or somewhere with cold climate, such as Russia. Because wearing a turtle neck on June 8 in Hanover, where the temperature is about 66 F (19 C) during the day, is a bit out of the question.

Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!