An Iranian fugitive judge facing prosecution in Europe for human rights abuses has been found dead in Romania, it has been reported.
The body of Gholamreza Mansouri was found at his Bucharest hotel at around 2.30pm on Friday, June 19, according to a correspondent for Radio Farda.
He is thought to have either fallen or jumped from a higher floor. Local police did not name Mansouri but identified the body as that of a 52-year-old man under judicial supervision.
"It was established that the man was a 52-year-old foreign citizen under judicial control for crimes committed in another country," the police said in a statement, adding that an investigation into his death was underway.
Judge Mansouri was arrested in Romania last week. Iranian authorities had requested his extradition in connection with an ongoing corruption trial in Iran, in which Mansouri is alleged to have received a 500,000 euro bribe.
On June 13, a Romanian judge ruled that Mansouri would not be extradited by Interpol until the court was satisfied his life would not be in danger if he returned to Iran.
With this evidence pending, Mansouri was released from custody for a 30-day judicial control period in which he was required to report to the police once a week. His extradiction hearing had been set for July 10.
At the same time, a potentially seminal case was being built against Mansouri in Europe. International human rights lawyer Kaveh Moussavi told IranWire last week that the judge, who fled to Germany in mid-2019, could be prosecuted in Europe for human rights abuses committed on his watch in Iran.
Mansouri is thought to have ordered and overseen the arrest and torture of at least 20 journalists in Iran, and of ordering the kidnapping of the family of an Iranian TV producer who was later assassinated in Turkey. Earlier in the week Reporters Without Borders filed two complaints with German and Romanian authorities asking for Mansouri to be arrested.
Kaveh Moussavi had planned to bring a case against Mansouri in Sweden, Norway and Germany for the crimes of hostage-taking, terrorism and torture. If successful, it could potentially have made other officials in Iran's judiciary vulnerable to prosecution abroad.
Within hours of the incident, Iran's state media claimed it was a suicide. According to ISNA news agency, Iran's international police chief Hadi Shirzad said Romanian authorities had told Iran that Mansouri "had thrown himself out of the window of his hotel in Bucharest."