Criminal complaint against judicial authorities in Iran: German Federal Public Prosecutor must investigate crimes against humanity

Case of German-Iranian citizen Jamshid Sharmahd

Iran – Death Penalty – Crimes against humanity

Jamshid Sharmahd, who has been sentenced to death in Iran, is a German citizen. For this reason alone, the German judiciary is obligated to investigate this case. His daughter Gazelle Sharmahd, with the support of ECCHR, filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor (GBA) in Karlsruhe on 20 June 2023.

The complaint focuses on eight high-ranking members of the judiciary and intelligence services in Iran, including Abdolghassem Salavati (Presiding Judge of Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court) and Mahmoud Alavi (Minister of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the time of Sharmahd’s abduction.

The criminal complaint is intended to initiate structural proceedings and further GBA investigations into Iran that extend beyond the scope of the Sharmahd case. The principle of universal jurisdiction allows the Federal Public Prosecutor in Germany to initiate investigations into unjust and repressive state structures in cases of crimes against humanity.


Jamshid Sharmahd was born in Tehran (Iran) and lived in Hanover (Lower Saxony) for many years. He has had German citizenship since 1995. More recently, the software entrepreneur has lived with his family in the United States.

On 28 July 2020, the Iranian secret service abducted Sharmahd from Dubai via Omanand brought him to Iran. There, the Iranian judicial and intelligence apparatus is holding him without due process in a secret location, where he is suffering severe physical abuse. After a show trial, Sharmahd was sentenced to death, and now his execution is imminent.

The case of the German-Iranian exemplifies the innumerable crimes of the Iranian regime.


The regime in Tehran is responsible for systematic torture, sexual violence, executions and the ‘disappearance’ perpetrated against tens of thousands of people – most recently in the wake of the suppression of the feminist revolution.

Whether through criminal charges in the Sharmahd case in Germany, legal action in another country or before an international court, the goal is to bring high-ranking officials of the Iranian government, judiciary, and security apparatus to justice for these crimes.

National authorities such as the Federal Public Prosecutor can investigate and contribute to prosecutions. The criminal charges in the Sharmahd case should therefore also be seen as an initial catalyst.


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Structural investigation

A structural investigation examines a suspected criminal act but without yet looking into specific potential perpetrators.

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