As a judge, and then prosecutor general in Tehran from 2003 to 2009, Saeed Mortazavi earned a reputation as a "serial human rights abuser" and "butcher of the press" for his role in quieting journalists and political dissenters. Now, he may get a taste of his own medicine. The 49-year-old Iranian, cleared of embezzlement, has been sentenced to 135 lashes for "seizing and wasting public funds" while head of Iran's social welfare organization in 2012 and 2013, reports Reuters. A prosecutor says he "expected a heavier sentence given the accusations" and will "file a complaint with the judiciary," per the Guardian. Human rights activists, however, say such a sentence is barbaric for anyone and distracts from Mortazavi's crimes.
Hadi Ghaemi of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says Mortazavi "could probably buy his way out of the flogging sentence," adding the punishment is "a total whitewash for a person who is implicated in gross corruption and graft as well as torture and deaths in custody of protesters in 2009," per the New York Times. Mortazavi—whom the Canadian government says was involved in the “torture” death of an Iranian-Canadian photo journalist in a Tehran prison in 2003—was acquitted of charges related to the deaths of three prisoners in a police prison facility in 2014. "This sentence is yet another example of rampant impunity in Iran," Ghaemi tells the Guardian. "No justice is being delivered here." (Read more Iran stories.)