Eight Iranian officials targeted in German criminal complaint

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The daughter of German-Iranian dual national Jamshid Sharmahd on Wednesday brought charges in Germany against eight Iranian officials for “crimes against humanity” after her father was sentenced to death by authorities in Tehran.

The complaint, filed with German federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe, accuses the high-ranking members of the Iranian judiciary and intelligence apparatus of unlawfully detaining and torturing Sharmahd, as well as denying him a fair trial.

“For three years nobody knows where my father is. I haven’t had any contact with him for two,” Gazelle Sharmahd said via video link from the United States.

“I do not know if he will survive,” she said.

“The aim of the charges is to show that Iran is committing crimes against humanity,” said Wolfgang Kaleck, head of the human right group ECCHR who filed the complaint together with Gazelle Sharmahd.

“We hope these charges will trigger a judicial inquiry into the detention of Jamshid Sharmahd,” Kaleck said.

The federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe applies the principle of universal jurisdiction — which allows it to pursue people for crimes of exceptional gravity, including war crimes and genocide, even if they were committed in a different country.

Jamshid Sharmahd was sentenced to death in February after he was convicted for taking part the April 2008 attack in the southern city of Shiraz that killed 14 people.

The sentence was subsequently confirmed by Iran’s supreme court in April.

Germany has condemned the death sentence handed down to Sharmahd, describing the verdict as “unacceptable.”

Over a dozen Western passport-holders are being held in Iran on various charges. Most hold dual nationality, which Iran does not recognize.

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