Judge who fled Iran amid corruption probe dies after Romania hotel fall

Gholamreza Mansouri apparently plunged from a high floor in Bucharest

Forensic workers carry a body from the hotel (Andreea Alexandru/AP)

A former judge from Iran sought by his country to face corruption charges has died after a fall from a hotel, Romanian media reported.

Romanian police said a man had fallen from a high floor at a hotel in the capital Bucharest, but did not identify him.

Local media identified the victim as Gholamreza Mansouri, who fled Iran last year after authorities there alleged he took about 500,000 euros (£450,000) in bribes.

Mansouri, who was facing an extradition request by Iran, had denied the allegations.

He said last week in a video statement that he left Iran for unspecified medical treatment and that coronavirus travel restrictions prevented him from returning to face the charges.

Earlier this week, journalist rights groups and Iranian dissidents urged Romania to not deport him, saying he should be prosecuted in Europe for ordering the mass arrest of reporters while serving as a judge in Tehran.

The German chapter of Reporters Without Borders filed a complaint with federal prosecutors in Germany last week, urging that Mansouri be investigated on allegations of torture and human rights abuses for ordering the arrest of 20 reporters in Iran in 2013.

German prosecutors confirmed on Wednesday they were looking into the complaint, and Reporters without Borders said it had filed a second complaint with Romanian authorities after learning Mansouri had slipped away from Germany.

It was not clear when he travelled to Romania, but Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaeili, said on June 13 that Mansouri had been arrested there and was expected to be returned to Iran “in the following days”.

According to Romanian authorities, Mansouri had been released from custody but kept under “judicial control”, during which he was banned from leaving the country and was obliged to present himself to authorities at their request.

Mansouri is best known for ordering the mass arrest of reporters in 2013 towards the end of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s time in office.

In 2012, he also banned the reformist Shargh daily newspaper and detained its editor-in-chief over a published cartoon that authorities deemed insulting to those who fought in the Iran-Iraq war.

By Press Association

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