[JURIST] Iranian judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani [profile] has removed controversial Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi [JURIST news archive] from office, according to state media reports Saturday. The reason for the dismissal is as yet unclear. Mortazavi was appointed as prosecutor general in 2003 [NYT report] and has been derisively called [Al Jazeera report] the "butcher of the press" and "torturer of Tehran" by reformists and critics because of his involvement in the closings of many media outlets and arrests of numerous journalists and political activists during his term. According to some reports, since August 1 Mortasavi had overseen the trials of over 100 individuals out of over 4,000 who were arrested during recent political protests [JURIST news archive]. Mortasavi was previously implicated in questionable investigations into the death in detention of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi [JURIST news archive]. Kazemi was originally reported to have died of stroke but a later investigation revealed she died from a blow to the head.
Larijani, who himself was appointed earlier this month [JURIST report] amid protests over the disputed re-election [JURIST news archive] of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official profile; JURIST news archive], has chosen former provincial judiciary head Abbas Jafari Dolat-Abadi [PressTV report] as Tehran's new prosecutor general.