On 24 April 1990, Kazem Rajavi, Iran’s former ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, was gunned down on his way home to Coppet, a town in canton Vaud near Geneva.
A number of years before, after becoming critical of the Khomeini regime, Rajavi resigned from his diplomatic post and become the representative of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Switzerland. In this role he campaigned for human rights and democracy in Iran and in 1981 he was granted political asylum in Switzerland.
According to Hanif Jazayeri, a UK-based human rights activist, the murder of Rajavi, is one of hundreds of terrorist assassinations targeting dissidents and foreign nationals carried out by Iran’s clerical regime.
According to the US State Department the Iranian regime has been implicated in as many as 360 targeted assassinations, terrorist plots, and terrorist attacks in more than 40 countries since coming to power in 1979.
In 1997, after extensive investigations by Swiss judicial and police officials, Roland Chatelain, the Swiss magistrate in charge of Rajavi’s case, said he was convinced the order to murder Rajavi came from Tehran, probably from the ministry of intelligence, according to RTS.
In addition, Chatelain revealed he had information on the identity of 13 suspects in the murder. Later, Swiss magistrates issued an international arrest warrant for a fourteenth suspect, Ali Fallahian, a former Iranian intelligence minister.
In 1992, French security agents arrested two of the suspects in Paris. Swiss security agents requested their extradition and a French court authorized it. However, the French government instead extradited the pair to Iran, citing national interests.
On 8 June 2020, the NCRI received a copy of a letter from Vaud’s prosecutor stating that the case would be closed on 17 June 2020 because of the statute of limitations.
The announcement was met with a chorus of condemnation from Iranian dissidents and Swiss and European lawmakers. Since then it has been announced that the closure of the file had been postponed until 31 July 2020.
The Swiss decision is nothing more than an abject political deal similar to France’s decision to free two of the arrested killers, according to Hanif Jazayeri. Terrorism and crimes against humanity are part of the Iranian regime’s DNA and are perpetrated relentlessly. They cannot be subject to the statute of limitations, he said.
If Switzerland is serious about fighting terrorism it should keep the case open, says Jazayeri. Invoking the statute of limitations regarding this file is a by-product of much delay and postponement and amounts to nothing more than preventing justice from being served and appeasing the mullahs over their unbridled terrorism, he says