Iranian judge accused of graft found dead in Bucharest

June 20, 2020
Judge Gholamreza Mansouri reportedly fled Iran after being accused of taking €500,000 in bribes. — Courtesy Twitter
Judge Gholamreza Mansouri reportedly fled Iran after being accused of taking €500,000 in bribes. — Courtesy Twitter

BUCHAREST — An Iranian judge accused of corruption in Iran and of human rights violations by activists, was found dead outside a hotel he was staying at in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday, according to media reports.

Gholamreza Mansouri died after falling out of a window in the hotel, RFE/RL's Romanian service reported.

It is unclear if the incident was the cause of an accident, whether he committed suicide, or if a crime was committed.

Mansouri had fled Iran after being accused of taking 500,000 euros in bribes.

He had previously denied he is on the run in a video shared on social media, saying he is abroad to receive medical treatment, and that he will be returning to Iran soon. He did not say what country he was in.

“We are waiting for the official report on the cause of this incident and we ask the Romanian authorities to officially inform us of the exact cause of the incident,” the official IRNA news agency reported foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

Last week, Iran said Mansouri was arrested in Romania by the Interpol.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Mansouri could not yet be extradited back to Iran due to coronavirus restrictions.

Mansouri’s promise to return was not “serious,” which is why Iran took legal action to have him arrested, said Esmaili.

The editor-in-chief of Mashreg News, a news website close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), hinted at a possible Iranian involvement in the death of Mansouri.

“As of today, Romania is a point of strategic depth [for Iran],” he said in a now-deleted tweet.

Iran uses the term “strategic depth” to refer to its military influence beyond Iranian borders.

Mansouri is also accused of having been involved in the arrest and torture of dozens of journalists in Iran. This prompted a number of Iranian journalists and human rights activists to demand his arrest in Europe.

A judge in Bucharest had temporarily released Mansouri under “certain conditions,” giving Iran until July 10 to present a formal extradition request, Radio Farda reported last week.

The judge had also ruled that Mansouri would not be handed over to the Interpol until Romanian authorities could verify that his life would not be in danger following his potential extradition to Iran. — Agencies

June 20, 2020
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