Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Cop26: Iran’s president reported to Police Scotland over ‘mass murder’ ahead of climate talks

‘This man must not be allowed to set foot in Scotland,’ former MEP says

Lamiat Sabin
Thursday 14 October 2021 16:00 BST
Police Scotland has been called on to launch a criminal investigation into Ebrahim Raisi into accusations of alleged genocide
Police Scotland has been called on to launch a criminal investigation into Ebrahim Raisi into accusations of alleged genocide (AP)

A former MEP has called for Iran’s president to be banned from attending the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow and criminally investigated over claims that he was responsible for “mass murder”.

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi is believed to be considering attending the UN climate change conference, which starts later this month, as his first overseas visit.

Struan Stevenson, a former Conservative MEP, is calling on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, foreign secretary Liz Truss and home secretary Priti Patel to ban him from attending.

Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow today, Mr Stevenson said he has sent a formal request to the head of Police Scotland, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, calling for the force to launch a criminal investigation into Mr Raisi under universal jurisdiction into accusations of alleged genocide and crimes against humanity.

A parallel action has been raised with the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Stevenson said: “This man must not be allowed to set foot in Scotland.

“Scotland does not take well to mass murderers coming here.

“If this man dares to attend Cop26 he should be immediately arrested by the police.

“I would urge the First Minister and Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, and the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to get their heads together and discuss this matter and ensure there is a political initiative taken that there is no way this man must be allowed to come to the United Kingdom, or indeed set foot in any other civilised nation.”

The letter to Mr Livingstone was submitted with a letter from five people who are former political prisoners in Iran and their relatives, as well as a dossier of more than 100 pages of evidence – Mr Stevenson added.

Among those speaking at the press conference, organised by the UK Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), were signatories to the letter, who told of witnessing a massacre of political prisoners more than 30 years ago.

The NCRI said the Iranian president was a member of the “Death Commission” of Tehran, a group in 1988 set up as a result of a fatwa by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime.

The fatwa – a formal ruling or interpretation of Islamic law – had called for the annihilation of about 30,000 political prisoners belonging to, or supporting, the left-wing revolutionary group People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).

PMOI was declared a proscribed terrorist group by the European Union, Canada, the United States, and Japan – but the designation was lifted by all the countries between 2009 and 2013. It is still declared a terrorist group in Iran and Iraq.

Police Scotland has assigned Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham to the case, Mr Stevenson said, but when he contacted the force last week to enquire when the witnesses would be interviewed he was told the case is being “reviewed”.

Mr Stevenson added: “We trust that the police will now accelerate their activities and ensure a full investigation is carried out.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We have received information which is being assessed.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As organisers of Cop26, the UK Government and UNFCCC are responsible for inviting state delegations. The Scottish Government has no plans to meet with representatives from Iran during Cop26.

“We wholeheartedly condemn human rights abuses and call on all states to uphold fundamental international standards - including the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in