On September 12, Iran sentenced a former high-ranking judicial official Akbar Tabari on graft charges to 31 years in prison. After an investigation co ducted for more than a year, Tabari was found guilty of corruption and bribery. The Iranian official is known to have served as the executive deputy of two consecutive heads of the judiciary according to a local state-run Iran agency report. A wide-ranging investigation and trials found Tabari’s links with several dozens of individual involved in corruption schemes. The case had opened in June alongside 21 defendants and the Tehran Criminal Court ordered ruled Tabari to pay more than 430 billion rials ($ 1.65 million) and all his property to be seized in the Islamic Republic’s one of heaviest sentences.
As per the local report, the incoming chief justice Ebrahim Raeesi pronounced the arrest of Tabari in July 2019, months after his appointment by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has formerly dismissed Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani. Iran's judiciary for a decade, Sadegh Amoli Larijani held a significant position in Iran’s legal system that led the dissenters, political opponents crackdown across the nation. However, Larijani, 58, was accused by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Iran’s former judiciary head of misconduct, corruption, inefficiency and attempts to control the state media and silence the journalists. Larijani was appointed by Khamenei as Expediency Council Chief.
A separate report by Iran’s Al-Monitor had confirmed, Citing the Reformist Emtedad that hard-liner Modarresi Yazdi was undergoing training to be appointed as the new judiciary chief, who would be replaced by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Larijani was accused of corruption. Further, the Trump administration had sanctioned the 56-year-old cleric.
Tabari’s case, which began in June 2020, highlighted the systematic and institutional corruption in Iran’s clerical regime. Akbar Tabari served under Larijani between 2009 to 2019, who was also believed to be the next Islamic Republic Supreme Leader. Akbar Tabari was arrested on July 16, 2019, on charges of money laundering and leading a network to receive bribes for influencing legal cases and judicial procedures. At a press conference in 2019, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic Judiciary, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, had told the state-run media that Tabari "exerting influence on some legal cases" and "having unlawful and unethical relationships" related to several other corruption lawsuits. Tabari, known as the judiciary's ‘strongman in the shadows,’ was detained for bribery of more than $5 million, while he was director of finance under the direct control of Supreme Leader Khamenei, according to agency reports.
(Image Credit: People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran)