Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim RaisiReuters/Majid Asgaripour/WANA
Following World War l, Roland Freisler returned to his native Germany having been a POW in Russia. During that time he had learned Russian while admiring the authoritarian methods of the Communist regime. By 1922 Freisler earned a Doctorate in Law and in 1925 joined the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party that became known as the Nazis), a year after Stalin became the leader of the USSR.

As a lawyer, Freisler was appointed to various senior positions under Hitler. In July 1942, he participated with Heydrich and Eichmann at the Wannsee Conference where they resolved to exterminate all European Jews in an organized and orderly manner.

A month later, Freisler became President of the People’s Court, which was established by Hitler in 1934 to deal with “political crimes.” Only loyal Nazi judges were eligible, treason being defined as opposition to National Socialism. Freisler also established the Supreme Court of Nazi Germany which adopted Nazi ideas as law.

Freisler was ruthless having been inspired by chief prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky whose Soviet show trials he had observed in Moscow. Freisler’s trials were swift with almost all defendants found guilty and executed within a day. Freisler’s role was judge, jury and executioner. Over 5000 Germans were executed by him between 1942-45. As with Vyshinsky, he used his court to scream at and humiliate defendants. On occasion Freisler ordered the victim to be hanged by thin rope to prolong suffering.

Having introduced the concept of “precocious juvenile criminals” back in 1939, Freisler enabled the death penalty for juveniles. Among the 72 children who were executed was 16 year old Helmuth Huebener for distributing anti-war pamphlets. In 1943 siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, together with fellow students of the White Rose youth movement were beheaded after a trial lasting an hour. Their crime was the distribution of anti -Nazi pamphlets at university.

Following the 1944 attempt on Hitler’s life, von Stauffenberg and others were tried by Freisler, who mocked the defendants forced to wear oversized trousers without belts. They had no access to lawyers and were not permitted to make statements. Freisler sadistically sentenced the plotters to hanging with wire. Hitler had the executions filmed and then watched them at his leisure.

Freisler and Raisi are eerily similar. Both ruthlessly serve their respective leaders, the Fuehrer Hitler and the Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Fifteen years after Freisler’s death, Ebrahim Raisi was born in Iran and became a keen supporter of the 1979 Islamist revolution. As with Freisler, Raisi rose through the ranks, and two years later became prosecutor of both Karaj and Hamadan simultaneously, but 300 km apart.

Later, in 1988 as prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi oversaw the execution of up to 30,000 dissidents, many hanged in groups of six from cranes, at thirty minute intervals.

Raisi also served as a Special Clerical Court (SCC) prosecutor, independent of the Islamic judicial system and accountable only to the Supreme Leader. People charged by the SCC are frequently not informed of the charges and subjected to horrific torture which not all survive. Trials sometimes last only a few minutes with the accused denied legal counsel. The SCC also censors/abolishes works deemed to challenge authority.

According to Amnesty International, at least 73 juveniles were executed from 2005-15. Cousins, intellectually impaired and illiterate Mehdi Sohrabifar together with Amin Sedaghat were convicted aged 15 in 2017 for alleged sexual crimes and executed 2019 after being brutally flogged shortly before their hanging. In 2018 alone, Iran executed seven people for alleged crimes committed as children.

As Freisler with Hitler, Raisi ‘s career is committed to eliminating any opposition to Ayatollah Khamenei. He has overseen the mass imprisonment and torture of journalists, protesters, LGBTQ, as well as dual citizens. Foreign tourists have been arrested as hostages.

In 1945, Freisler was killed when his People’s Court was bombed by an American B17, piloted by highly decorated Jewish- American, Robert (Rosie) Rosenthal. Despite his plane engulfed in flames, Rosenthal focussed on his mission. Freisler was crushed by falling masonry while holding the file of Fabian von Schlabrendorff whose impending trial, guilt and execution had already been decided.

After the war, as a young lawyer, Rosenthal went on to interrogate Goering at the Nuremberg trials. Von Schladrendorff whose life among others he saved, became a federal German judge.

President- Elect Raisi has been sanctioned by the US and EU for human rights abuses. Responsible for the butchery of tens of thousands, he is determined to obtain nuclear weapons-an unfolding nightmare.

The US administration and the EU are focussed, even obsessed, on signing an agreement with the very man sanctioned for crimes against humanity and soon to be president of Iran. However, at long last, the UN Human Rights investigator for Iran, Javaid Rehman, wants Raisi investigated following reports of him personally attending torture sessions of prisoners.

Will Raisi, whose ruthless career of terror was never checked before, be stopped now? Who will have the courage and determination of Rosie Rosenthal?

Ron Jontof-Hutter is the author of the satirical novel on antisemitism, the trombone man: tales of a misogynist, the Kristallnacht Cantata: a voice of courage, and the stage play BEST.