Swiss court reopens probe into killing of Iranian official

Swiss investigation into 1990 killing of Iranian opposition figure reopened
2 min read
28 September, 2021
A Swiss court has reopened an investigation into the 1990 killing of Iranian opposition figure Kazem Rajavi after genocide and crimes against humanity charges were added to the probe.
Kazem Rajavi was the brother of Massoud Rajavi, once the leader of the People's Mujahideen, the main armed opposition group inside Iran [source: Getty]

A Swiss investigation into the 1990 killing of Iranian opposition figure Kazem Rajavi must reopen, after a court ordered genocide and crimes against humanity charges added to the probe.

Prosecutors in the Vaud canton had wanted to close the case on the April 24 1990 killing of Radjavi outside Geneva, as it had passed the 30-year statute of limitations.

But "the killing in question may have been committed in relation to intended genocide or perpetration of crimes against humanity," the Federal Criminal Court said in a judgement issued on September 23 and seen by AFP late Monday.

"Given that there is no statute of limitations on these acts... it is therefore appropriate for the federal prosecutor to take over the case," the court added.

Kazem was the brother of Massoud Rajavi, once the leader of the People's Mujahideen, the main armed opposition group inside Iran.

He was the Swiss representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the organisation's public face, at the time he was shot in his car in a village near Geneva.

A total of 14 Iranians are suspected of involvement in the killing, mostly diplomats who left Switzerland soon afterwards, but also former information minister Ali Fallahian.

The execution "had already been decided on and ordered by Fallahian in 1982 or 1983," the court said based on already-gathered evidence.

What's more, "assassinations were carried out between 1987 and 1993 in Hamburg, Vienna, Geneva, London, Dubai and Paris" against Iranian opposition members, it added.

Germany and Argentina also issued international arrest warrants for Fallahian, on suspicion of organising a bombing against an Israeli association in Buenos Aires.

Another of Kazem's brothers, Saleh Rajavi, was the one to urge the court to add the genocide and crimes against humanity charges to the probe.

Kazem Rajavi was shot soon after a 1988 mass killing of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, he pointed out.