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Iran judiciary says 94 Americans accused in Martyr Soleimani’s assassination case

An Iranian man carries a portrait of martyr General Qasem Soleimani during commemorations of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran. (File by AP)

Iran’s top human rights official says 94 Americans are accused in the case of the US assassination of the country’s top anti-terror hero General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

Kazem Gharibabadi, head of Iran’s Human Rights Headquarters and Deputy Chief of the Judiciary, made the remarks while elaborating on the latest results of an investigation into the assassination.

“Currently, the indictment focuses on the American defendants. This case now has 94 criminals from America. All the necessary documents have been collected by the judicial authorities and at least three complete volumes about these 94 defendants are prepared,” Gharibabadi said.

He added that former US president Donald Trump, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and former commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) General Kenneth F. McKenzie are the main culprits in this case.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were martyred along with their companions in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020.

Trump directly authorized the strike, which was carried out near Baghdad International Airport.

The two anti-terror commanders were tremendously respected and admired across the region for their instrumental role in fighting and decimating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

“We have also sent letters rogatory to seven other countries, as not all of the accused are Americans, and they (Americans) had accomplices from other countries, for example from some regional countries and two European countries, Germany and the UK,” the Iranian official said.

He noted that those countries have so far refrained from responding to the judicial requests that Iran had sent to them through diplomatic channels.

‘Very good judicial cooperation between Iran, Iraq'

Gharibabadi hailed the “very good” cooperation of Iraq’s judiciary with Iran and called for accelerating the investigation process.

He noted that Iran has also provided Iraq’s judicial system with evidence regarding the role of 17 Iraqi people in the case.

Iran and Iraq have set up a joint judicial committee last year to probe into the case, which has held three sessions in Tehran and Baghdad and the fourth round is also to be held next week, he said.

Gharibabadi added that the two countries’ judiciaries have exchanged very good information and documents within the framework of the joint committee which helped the Iranian judicial official to complete their investigations.

‘No individual immune from judicial proceedings’

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Iranian official said that based on the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, Iran has sent an official letter through diplomatic channels to the US government, calling on the American officials to “extradite the defendants to Iran or bring charges against them [in the US].”

“The deadline that we have set in this diplomatic note has also expired and it means that Iran can take the next steps based on the 1973 Convention,” Gharibabadi said, adding that American authorities are “avoiding the implementation of justice.”

He emphasized that no individual will be immune from judicial proceedings, adding that there is no obstacle in the way of Iran’s judicial system in pursuing the assassination case.

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