Iran Judiciary Criticized After Acquitting Top Reciter of Raping 19 Children

The Iranian judiciary has issued a ruling dismissing the case against Saeed Toosi, a favored Quran reciter of the country’s supreme leader, accused of raping 19 children many of whom were his students, Al Arabiya reports.

An official Iranian media published on Saturday a copy of the Tehran court’s ruling confirming that Toosi was acquitted of charges of sexually molesting and raping four of the victims who filed complaints with the judiciary against him. The Tehran court’s decision stated that “even if it is proved that the defendant has committed the act, it does not mean that he has committed a crime for which the law and the judiciary will be held accountable”.

Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeghi protested to the judicial authorities, considering the decision to acquit Toosi “unfair and unjust,” saying that “evidence indicates that the Quran teacher harassed the children” and that he was being “supported by the influential office of the Supreme Leader.”

“The judiciary has not heard the voice of the people in the recent protests,” Sadeghi wrote on Twitter.

The MP also confirmed that “the court annulled a preliminary decision that was issued by the Court of Appeal sentencing Toosi to four years in prison because of the exertion of clear pressure, where the documents of the case appear to have a clear impact in the process of prosecution”.

Saeed Toosi is considered one of Iran’s most celebrated Quran readers and was once considered an “exemplary model to be followed” according to Khamenei, current Supreme Leader of Iran. The 46-year-old representative of Iran in the international Quranic competition and the winner of the first prize both internationally and locally has reportedly raped seven of his students aged between 12 and 14, during the past seven years.

They decided to shed light on their cases and bring it to the public while an Iranian court attempts at covering up the sexual scandal under supposed direct orders from the Khamenei and the Supreme Judicial authorities. Toosi adds up to a growing list of scandal facing Tehran after series of economic ones have preoccupied the Iranian public.

In a television program broadcasted by The Persian Voice of America, three of the rape victims said that they have written evidence and audio recordings clearly pointing to Toosi in which he admitted with his own handwriting that his actions were a “mistake.”

In an audio recording, Toosi is heard saying the that Khamenei is well aware of the situation, and had agreed with the head of the judiciary authority Sadek Larijani to cover up the case in order to safeguard the reputation of the Quranic institution in Iran.

One of the victims, a first prize winner in one of the recent Quranic competitions, alleged that Toosi took advantage of him when he was his companion for a competition abroad. He deliberately booked one hotel room where he molested and raped the then 12-year-old.

The victims added that they filed complaints against the Quranic reader to officials in the House of the Leadership after they were advised to. Yet, officials have ignored their claims after receiving a“repentance letter “ where Toosi admitted his wrongdoing and claimed “he is a changed man”.