New “judicial police” launched in Iran capital
Iran Focus: a pro-MEK website
Hundreds of new “judicial police” have begun to roam the streets of Tehran starting from earlier this week, even before Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) approved the dubious judicial-security body that they represent.
The new organ, officially called “Judicial Services Police” (JSP), began monitoring people in the streets of the Iranian capital on Tuesday, arresting those who the judiciary suspected of “illegal activities”. READ MORE
The JSP was set up by the judiciary in coordination with the State Security Forces (SSF), Iran’s paramilitary police. However, in late 2005 Majlis refused to approve a law granting it authority to carry out its work.
Among senior judicial officials who attended its inauguration at the Imam Khomeini Judicial Centre in the Iranian capital was Tehran’s chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi who gained infamy after it was discovered that he may have been personally responsible for the murder of Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison in 2003.
“These people will be based in JSP units in police precincts and are tasked with carrying out the orders issued by judiciary officials”, Mortazavi said.
Other officials at the opening ceremony included the Deputy Judiciary Chief and the Deputy Commander of the SSF.
The JSP is already believed to have some 800 cadre in its command, and security officials claim that the organ will soon widen its sphere of operation to cover the entire nation.
The JSP was originally set up in the early days of the 1979 Islamic Revolution but it was dismantled 10 years later and its forces distributed among the judiciary and the SSF, with officials citing an overlap of its activities and that of Iran’s other security agencies as the reason for its closure.
In recent years, the judiciary under the control of Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi had been pushing hard for it to resurface as a fully-functioning force capable of arresting those on its watch-list and placing them straight into its designated prison cells. It argued that this method would by far lead to the fastest prosecutions and sentences for offenders.
Some analysts say that it is only a matter of time before Shahroudi is replaced as Iran’s Judiciary Chief.
The deployment of the new judicial paramilitary force will likely add to the already repressive atmosphere in the streets of Tehran and may bring about a backlash of social dissent.