Tehran confirms death of fugitive judge in Romania

June 20, 2020 - 12:55

TEHRAN — Tehran has confirmed the death of Gholamreza Mansouri, a fugitive Iranian judge accused of corruption and taking more than $500,000 in bribes, in Romania.

“We are awaiting the official report of the cause of this incident and we ask Romanian authorities to officially inform us of the precise cause of this incident,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday evening.

Mansouri was found dead of apparent suicide on Friday at a hotel in Romania where he had been staying.

He was a co-defendant in a major financial corruption trial involving several senior judges accused of embezzlement and bribery.

Iran’s chief of international policing, Hadi Shirzad, said on Friday that Mansouri had jumped out of a hotel window to his death, citing information Iran had received from Interpol in Bucharest.

Iranian authorities had issued an alert for Mansouri’s arrest through Interpol and had requested he be extradited to Iran to face trial. 

Mansouri was arrested in Romania last week but was residing at the Duke Hotel in Bucharest, the capital, while the police monitored him. He had been forbidden from leaving the country.

According to The New York Times, the police in Bucharest on Friday night confirmed that a foreign national staying at the hotel, and who was under police watch, had fallen to his death in what the preliminary investigation indicated was a suicide.

In his Friday statement, Mousavi said Mansouri had recently visited the Iranian embassy in Romania to discuss his return to Iran.

Last week, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaeili announced that Mansouri was arrested due to the Judiciary’s legal measures.

“Mr. Mansouri had announced that ‘I will return to Iran and attend the [court’s] session’, but after conducting investigations we realized that this announcement is not serious and is more like a show,” Esmaeili stated.

He explained that Mansouri cannot be transferred to Iran at the moment due to the coronavirus circumstances, but “this will happen in the following days.”

Mansouri is among several judges who were accused of corruption during the high-profile trial of a former senior Judiciary official that opened in Tehran on June 7.

In a video posted online on June 8, Mansouri didn’t give details about his whereabouts, but he said he would return to Iran as soon as travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic are eased.

“I have full trust in the Islamic republic, Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], and the judicial system,” he said in the video.

On June 11, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) filed an official complaint with German federal judicial authorities demanding Mansouri’s arrest for suppressing and jailing dozens of Iranian journalists.

MH/PA

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