Hardline former judge in Iran disbarred over torture deaths of protesters

Iran's Supreme Court has disbarred a hardline judge over his role in the death by torture of at least three jailed anti-government protesters in 2009.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency says Saeed Mortazavi, an ally of former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also been barred from all government positions for five years.

A parliament probe in 2011 found Mortazavi responsible in the torturing to death of at least three anti-government protesters detained during mass protests in the wake of Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009. At the time, he was responsible for Kahrizak prison in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Reformists have dubbed Mortazavi the "butcher of the press" for his role in the closure of more than 120 newspapers and the imprisonment of dozens of journalists and activists.