Call for an international commission of inquiry to investigate 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran
On the anniversary of the execution of over 30.000 prisoners in Iran in summer of 1988, an exhibition including photos, documents and artistic works was held in the Residence Palace, Brussels on August 30.
Human rights defenders, renowned jurists, and European politicians took part in the exhibition. Julie ward, member of European Parliament (United Kingdom) and Professor Eric David, renowned jurist and Professor of International Law at Université libre de Bruxelles were among the participants.
Witnesses of the 1988 massacre and political dissidents who have recently fled Iran took part in the exhibition and gave details on the human rights situation in Iran as well as the latest evidence obtained about this massacre.
The exhibition took place when more than 20 political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison (West of Tehran) are on hunger strike since July 30 in protest against the intensified suppressive measures in the facility. After four weeks, the physical condition of many participants has become seriously dangerous. They can barely walk and are suffering from heart, lung, and kidney ailments while being deprived of all medicine.
In the exhibition, human rights defenders and supporters of the Iranian Resistance called for the formation of an international commission of inquiry into the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988 and bringing those responsible for this genocide and crime against humanity to justice.
They stressed that the issue of human rights should be at the core of the West’s policy on Iran. They urged the UN, EU and the US to put the issue of flagrant and systematic violation of human rights in Iran on top of their agenda.
The participants called on all international human rights organizations, especially the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to take urgent action to save the lives of hunger striking political prisoners.
Amnesty International on August 23 issued a statement regarding “Mass hunger strike by political prisoners in protest at inhumane conditions.” Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International said: “By detaining dozens of prisoners of conscience after grossly unfair trials the Iranian authorities are already shamelessly flouting their human rights obligations. These are people who shouldn’t even be behind bars in the first place, yet instead of being released from custody they are being punished further by being held in appalling conditions.”
Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the clerical regime in the summer of 1988, in a fatwa that was unprecedented in the history of Islam, stated that all those who were imprisoned throughout Iran and were still loyal to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) should be executed. More than 30,000 political prisoners who were serving their terms were executed in a few months based on this criminal fatwa. The Death Committees, in trials that lasted just a few minutes, sent to the gallows any of the prisoners who were not willing to condemn the PMOI (MEK). The victims were buried in mass graves in secret.
In spite of the mullahs’ attempts to impose silence on this crime against humanity and to prevent the spread of this issue in the society, the movement calling for justice for the victims of the massacre in Iran has expanded since last year and has evolved into a public issue. The Justice seeking movement in Iran managed to corner the mullahs.
During the last year, new information about the slaughter, including a large number of names of the victims, as well as the locations of numerous mass graves which the mullahs had previously concealed, has surfaced.
The 1988 massacre and the conspiracy of silence has been an issue of consensus among the regime’s various factions and its senior officials.
Over the past four years, the mullahs’ president Hassan Rouhani had appointed Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, one of the key officials in charge of the 1988 massacre, as Minister of Justice. The new Justice Minister for his second term, Alireza Avai, is another one of the perpetrators of the massacre, who has been already designated as a violator of human rights by the European Union.