Iranian Judiciary ‘expects appropriate response to Hajj tragedy’
The Iranian Judiciary says it expects the international community to appropriately react to the tragic crush of September 24 in Mina, near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“We expect the international bodies and those who claim to advocate human rights to have a good reaction to the occurrence of the Mina catastrophe,” Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, the spokesman for Iran’s Judiciary, said on Sunday.
“This disaster, which happened on the day of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) was a big crime and a tragic event; and it is self-evident that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the bereaved families cannot move on from the grief,” the spokesman said.
He said the Office of Tehran’s Prosecutor General is currently investigating the issue and Tehran’s Judiciary Department is taking measures so that the families of the victims – in case of having any complaints about the incident – can file them.
He went on to say that the perpetrators of the “appalling tragedy” must be brought to justice, adding that Tehran has launched a probe to identify those responsible for the incident and hopes that other Islamic countries take similar measures.
The crush reportedly took place after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of the holy city of Mecca, during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat.
Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people lost their lives. The bodies of 399 Iranian victims have so far been handed over to Iranian officials, according to the Sa’eed Ohadi, the head of the organization. Ohadi said on Sunday that 65 Iranians are still missing after the incident.
A new tally by the Associated Press (AP) shows that at least 1,453 people were killed in the incident. The AP count is larger by 684 than the official toll of 769 provided by Riyadh.
The AP says it obtained the figure from statements made by 19 of over the 180 countries that had pilgrims in Mina at the time of the deadly tragedy. Saudi officials, however, have not made any comment on the AP tally, yet.
Jason Rezaian’s verdict issued
Ejeie also said that a verdict has been issued in the trial of The Washington Post’s reporter in Iran Jason Rezaian.
“The verdict for this case has been issued; which of course can be appealed,” he said, without elaborating on the content of the verdict.
He further said that the time to appeal the verdict is not yet over, explaining that if the court doesn’t receive an appeal, “the verdict will become final.”
Rezaian, a 39-year-old correspondent with a dual Iran-US citizenship, was arrested along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, in Tehran on July 22, 2014.
He has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012.
He is facing charges of “espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
Jason’s wife, who worked as a correspondent for the UAE-based newspaperNational, was released on bail in October 2014.
The US government has repeatedly called for Rezaian’s release.