WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a panel at the National Press Club by the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), human rights experts called for accountability for Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.
Referring to NCRI’s newly released book, “Iran, Where Mass Murderers Rule, The 1988 Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners and the Continuing Atrocities,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Kenneth Blackwell, called for accountability into the 1988 massacre to “put pressure on the regime to give access so that we might shine light on the evils that were done… [to give] hope to [those] inside Iran.” Blackwell added, “our delegation at the U.N. [should] continue to be a leading voice, not only on international terrorism…by the regime, but …to bring justice to a regime … that is a threat to the basic fabric of humanity across the globe.”
Former Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Linda Chavez, referred to the role of women in the opposition. “It is no accident,” that Iran’s opposition movement “is led by a woman, Madame Maryam Rajavi. She stands as a real affront to this regime. The regime hates and fears the MEK [Mujahedin-e Khalq] because in the MEK women … are allowed to lead others. And men are willing to listen and to follow them; a major threat to a regime that wants to imprison half its people.”
NCRI’s U.S. Representative, Soona Samsami said, “why the regime continues to perpetrate such atrocities and continuing? The answer is simple; it fears its population. Despite harsh crackdown, Tehran has been unable to extinguish the Iranian people’s yearning for change, freedom, and human rights.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg emphasized, “The violation of human rights has become an inconvenient truth to those who have decided that the Iran nuclear agreement is what begins and ends our engagement with Iran… We need to begin holding Iran accountable.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said, “Many of the perpetrators of this crime are in positions of high authority and this has produced a culture of impunity that Iran’s rulers exploit to continue arresting, torturing, and murdering at will and without consequences or penalty… The only way to stop rogue regimes from using terror and murder as tools of their rule is to hold them accountable for their crimes.”
An exhibition and a conference were held today at the 5th District Municipality of Paris, focusing on the “massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 in Iran – Right of families of the victims to learn the truth.”
Invited by Mayor Florence Berthout,
The conference was co-sponsored by the Committee to Support Human Rights in Iran and the Committee of French Mayors for A Democratic Iran. A number of political personalities, lawyers and a large number of elected representatives of France participated in the conference and delivered their speeches, calling on the UN, world governments and relevant judicial authorities to show appropriate reaction to this “crime against humanity” which had been forgotten for years, but has been recently brought up in Iran and on the international level.
The speakers included former Algerian Prime Minister, Mr. Sid Ahmad Ghozali, Bernard Kouchner,
Rama Yade, Ingrid Betancourt, William Bourdon, lawyer, and Tahar Boumedra, jurist, expert and former UN senior officer, who called for the formation of an international committee to investigate the extra-judicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in summer 1988 and the following months upon the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic regime in Iran.
Many speakers including former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, Rama Yade, Ingrid Betancourt, Attorney William Bourdon, expert jurist Tahar Boumedra, a former senior UN official, called for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry into the extrajudicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, and following month, following a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the ruling theocracy in Iran.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran,
sent a video message to the conference, in which she declared, “The international community’s appeasement of the Iranian regime and the immunity enjoyed by its officials over some 40 years has emboldened these criminals. The mullahs who carried out the massacre in 1988, now hold world record in per capita executions.”
Mothers of some of the victims of this crime who are still searching for the bodies of their loved ones, as well as representatives of Iran’s young generation who demand accountability of the Iranian regime’s officials on these crimes, also gave their testimonies in this conference.
Bernard Kouchner recalled that Khomeini decided in the name of God to order the death of 30,000 political prisoners within a few months, which he described as ‘climax of barbarism’. He condemned the fact that a member of the death commission is Rouhani’s justice minister. In the opinion of the former foreign minister, it is time to ask all levels to investigate this massacre.
Ingrida Betancourt noted that the economic benefits of the nuclear deal are taken by the Revolutionary Guards. The IRGC has used this opportunity its aggressions in the region. In the opinion of Ingrid Betancourt, the separation of the nuclear issue from human rights issue has not been but a trap. The IRGC interferes in Syria and Iraq and finances terrorists like Hezbollah. The policy of appeasement gave a blank check to Iran to attack its neighbors and exploit the people of Iran. She strongly criticized the position of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, saying that Europe has made a mistake and has no right to betray itself by turning a blind eye to the sufferings of the Iranian people.
Rama Yade demanded an international investigation into the 1988 massacre, and recalled that the Iranian judiciary, whose minister had a direct role in the massacre, is not competent to investigate this crime. She also criticized the nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the deal served as a permit for the regime so long as repression in Iran and war and terrorism pursued by the regime continue. She stressed that if the Iranian regime refuses to end its missile program and withdraw its militias from Syria, then we should to re-enforce the sanctions.
William Bourdon pointed out that the 1988 massacre in Iran is the largest massacre of political prisoners since World War II. We must put an end to this impunity of the perpetrators of the massacre. Over the past 30 years, there have been lots of massacres in Iran. It is essential to recognize the executioners of Tehran a criminals because they are today bound to the executioners of Damascus and have formed an ignoble cult of criminals.
The co-chair of the Committee of Mayors of France for a Democratic Iran, Jean François Legaret (mayor of the 1st District of Paris) announced the support for of the conference’s objectives by a few thousand mayors and members of city council, who had signed a declaration after the recent Mayor’s Congress regarding the need for investigation into the 1988 massacre and human rights in Iran.
A large number of documents, photos, film footages, handcraft of martyred prisoners and other artwork were put on exhibition on the sideline of this conference. A versatile combination of people including a large number of students of international law participated in the conference.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, made reference to this crime in his November 2017 report, saying that the UN had received many complaints from families of the victims.
Also, Ms. Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, reiterated in her recent report to the General Assembly on October 25 that the families of the victims have a right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of these events and the fate of the victims without risking reprisal.
Comité de Soutien aux Droits de l’Homme en Iran
The JVMI participated in a side event about Iran’s 1988 massacre at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 14 September 2017.
The event called on the OHCHR to launch an international commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.
Speakers at the event included Tahar Boumedra, former head of UNAMI’s human rights office and the lead author of two JVMI reports into the 1988 massacre; Alfred de Zayas, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; Rama Yade, former Human Rights Minister of France; Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament and current President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ); Kirsty Brimelow, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales; and Laurence Felhmann Rielle, Swiss Federal Councillor. The event was moderated by Perviz Khazai, the representative of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Nordic countries.
A number of survivors and family members of victims of the 1988 massacre also addressed the event about the scenes that they had witnessed at the time.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras started the event by stating that he was encouraged by the recent report of Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which the issue of the 1988 massacre was raised. Vidal-Quadras detailed how the information campaign conducted by the opposition about the massacre has had a very large impact on public opinion and officials both outside and within Iran. He pointed out that the majority of victims of the massacre belonged to the opposition group People’s Mojahedin (PMOI or MEK) and he emphasised that the best source of evidence about the massacre are the PMOI members currently residing in Tirana, Albania.
Vidal-Quadras further explained the link between the massacre and the current leadership of the Iranian government, including the fact that two subsequent Ministers of Justice appointed by President Hassan Rouhani have been directly implicated as central actors in this crime against humanity. He concluded that due to the continued presence of the perpetrators at the highest levels of government and judicial system there can be no credible national investigation and the next report of the Special Rapporteur should therefore take the step to recommend the UN refer the case to the International Criminal Court.
Finally Vidal-Quadras entreated European and other Governments to put human rights first when dealing with Iran. The credibility of the democratic world has been damaged by years of appeasement towards the Iranian Government despite their gross violations of human rights, he said. One way to reclaim that credibility would be to include language about the 1988 massacre from the Special Rapporteur’s report in the UN resolutions on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and on the human rights situation in Iran, he added.
Tahar Boumedra gave an overview of the extensive research into the 1988 massacre carried out by the JVMI since the launch of the organisation last year. The JVMI has gathered details about the victims, alleged perpetrators, sites of mass graves as well as applicable laws and treaties, he said. Boumedra explained that the events of 1988 would not have been possible without the Iranian Government setting up a machine of mass killing which remain in place today.
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 14/09/2017
Boumedra went on to show some of the evidence that has been gathered since the publication of the organisation’s first report in February. There have been multiple public confessions by the perpetrators, currently high ranking officials in the Iranian state. Not least, there were several admissions of guilt during the presidential campaign earlier this year, he said.
Boumedra emphasised that although the exact extent of the massacre is unknown there is no doubt whatsoever that thousands of people were executed in an extra-legal process. The killings were systematic and widespread, with as many as 70 death committees set up in all the major cities in Iran.
Boumedra questioned whether it is normal that after twenty-eight years there has not been any attempts at an investigation by the Iranian authorities. The families have a right to know what happened to their loved ones, how they died and where they are buried. He recommended that the UN take a new approach to this issue. He encouraged all relevant UN mandate holders to investigate the events of 1988.
Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order started his intervention by stating that he believed in the cause presented by JVMI and ISJ and in particular that he wished to align himself with Boumedra’s call for an international commission of inquiry. He argued that the matter of the 1988 massacre in Iran impacts international order, truth and justice. It is not simply an Iranian matter. The Independent Expert reminded that there have been countless UN resolutions condemning impunity for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity around the world. The 1988 m
Rama Yade reminded the audience that there can no peace without justice because without justice there is always the risk of recurrence of the crime. All it took was a fatwa from the Supreme Leader for thousands of people, political prisoners as well as prisoners of belief and conscience, to be killed. Yade asked, without justice, what is to prevent it from happening again? While acknowledging the ‘important and excellent work’ of the Special Rapporteur and her report, Yade argued that the international community must go further and accept its responsibilities. In her view, a fact finding mission is not enough, there must be an independent international commission of inquiry.
The former French Secretary of State outlined one of the largest potential problems of any investigation into the events of 1988, the fact that the Iranian authorities consistently find, intimidate and punish any individual who cooperates with UN Special Procedures or human rights organisations. In order for an investigation to be successful, witnesses must be able to come forward without fear of reprisals, which means the international community must be ready to protect witnesses. Yade further argued that for justice to be done there must be legal sanctions against those found guilty and this requires the involvement of the International Criminal Court, which in turn requires that the Security Council take action.
In response to those who might be intimidated by Iran and the struggle ahead, Yade argued that the only strategy which has proven effective against regimes like that in Iran is strength, not cowardice. She reminded that Iran has much more too lose from lost trade and business, which means we should not be intimidated by Iranian threats of economic losses if we put human rights first. In terms of regional and security policy it is clear that Iran will not play a positive role in the region, such as ending the war in Syria, regardless of the actions of the world community when it comes to human rights in general and the case of the 1988 massacre in particular.
Yade ended her intervention by praising the ‘brilliant report’ by Boumedra compiling the evidence to date and encouraged everyone to do what they can to help the Iranian people become involved and present their evidence.
Kirsty Brimelow took the floor to encourage states and organisations to follow the lead of Canada which officially recognised the 1988 massacre as a crime against humanity in 2013. In what could potentially be described as a genocide, executions took place every thirty minutes all over Iran, she said. She argued that these mass killings might have been dressed up in judicial wrappings but clearly violated all international principles of fair trials and independent judicial systems.
Brimelow went on to argue that even in cases were atrocities have already happened, states have responsibilities and must aid reconciliation by recognising the crime, informing relatives and taking measures to ensure non-recurrence. This particular crime was pivotal to the development of human rights in Iran. Centrally placed perpetrators were promoted and two Ministers of Justice are among those accused of carrying out the mass killings, she said. The current extreme rate of executions of Iran is also a product of the past and unlikely if not for the 1988 massacre.
Brimelow reminded the international community that over one hundred accused perpetrators have been identified. It is not possible, as is too often the case and which have impeded other calls for justice, for perpetrators to hide behind some faceless grouping. These individuals can and should be brought to justice, but what is the appropriate venue? Brimelow argued that Iran has proven both unwilling, given the twenty-eight years without any investigation, and unable, given the lack of an independent judiciary, to hold its own tribunal. An international inquiry in some form, potentially a hybrid tribunal such as that attempted in the case of Sri Lanka, is necessary. A remedy is urgently required, she added.
Laurence Felhmann Rielle recounted her many interactions with in particular the women who are fighting for justice in the case of the 1988 massacre. She expressed how impressed she was with their activism and struggle in the face of extreme obstacles put up by the Iranian authorities.
Felhmann Rielle denounced in the strongest terms the horrible events of 1988. One third of those executed were women, among them pregnant women, teenagers and old women. She argued this case, and the information campaign of the families and PMOI, has an enormous impact on Iranian society to this day. She reminded the audience that while the PMOI paid the highest price they were not the only victims and that this campaign is for all those impacted by the crime.
She hailed the report of the Special Rapporteur as a step forward but not enough. Although the report means we can no longer ignore the facts of what happened in 1988, the international community must also keep up the pressure on the Iranian Government. Felhmann Rielle pointed out that many non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International and FIDH have also demanded that the internal community take action. As part of that action, she argued there must be protection for opponents of the Iranian Government and witnesses.
Tom Syrin, visiting scholar at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, explained why the particular atrocity of the 1988 massacre needs to be urgently addressed. He drew on several historical examples to show that atrocities and crimes against humanity often follow large losses of legitimacy for non-democratic regimes. In the case of the 1988 massacre, the Iran-Iraq war had severely challenged the Iranian Government and this loss of prestige and legitimacy led to the repressive actions culminating in the mass killings. Syrin argued that in the case of the current Iranian Government, its support is based in part on the clergy and in part on the merchant class which will only support the government as long as money is diverted to them. The Iranian constitution also stipulates a goal of eternal expansion of the revolution. With the economic troubles of Iran and setbacks in its regional policy, particularly in Syria, there is thus a large risk of renewed repression and recurrence of the events of 1988. There is a clear connection between a lack of rule of law and the use of external crises to conceal and motivate repression.
Syrin ended his intervention by emphasising that the public and repeated admissions of guilt by perpetrators is a jurist’s dream and must move the Human Rights Council to action. If the UN Human Rights mechanisms are not to risk their own legitimacy, these warning signs must be followed by substantial actions.
Zohreh Bijanyar spoke out on behalf of the family members of those killed in the 1988 massacre. She told the audience of her sister, a human rights activist, who was arrested in the summer of 1988 and soon after executed along with more than 30,000 other political prisoners following a fatwa by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
She spoke of the pain to see at least three known members of the death committee which sentenced the prisoners to their executions currently occupying high positions in the Iranian judiciary. Thousands of families, including her own, have waited twenty-nine years to know why their loved ones were killed, when, where and how they were killed and where their bodies were buried. On behalf of these families she called for the truth to be established through an international commission of inquiry and reiterated that the pain is still present every day for the families.
Mostafa Naderi recounted the story of his imprisonment. He was first arrested in 1980, he was only a student at the time, rounded up with many other youngsters who wanted to ensure that they did not lose the freedoms they had gained after the 1979 revolution. The only charges presented against him were selling newspapers and participating in protests which were perfectly legal at the time.
He spent in total five years in solitary confinement and endured extensive torture and pain. In 1988 he was suffering from internal bleeding of the kidneys as a consequence of being whipped with cables and was often unconscious and hospitalised. When he was brought back to his prison cell after he recovered, he was told by the remaining few prisoners that the others had been executed. The regime had, using the so-called death commissions, separated the prisoners into those that would live and those that would die. Between 150 and 200 people had been executed every night. The doors to most cells were open, their former inhabitants gone and only their bags with nametags left, he recounted. Many had been told that they were being brought to see their families and instead led to their executions. Only 200 of the previously 12,000 of the prisoners in his prison had survived. Naderi told the audience about how he was released three years after the massacre and how he managed to flee the country.
Naderi explained that the massacre neither started nor stopped in 1988. It started with the execution of the first political prisoner and continues to this day. He ended his remarks by asking for a commission of inquiry not just for those that have already died but also for those currently awaiting execution in Iranian prisoners.
Simin Nouri, President of the Association of Iranian Women in France, highlighted that one third of all those executed in 1988 were women. She explained that women have always had a very prominent role in all social movements in Iran and that through the decades much progress had been made. Despite the grave misogyny which faces the women of Iran, their struggle still continues. Nouri urged all Iranian women to come forward with their stories, to record all the details of what they have witnessed and experienced, and submit it to both the members of the panel and to the UN. She ended her intervention with the hope that the women of Iran can count on all in the audience and the international community to help them.
NCRI – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran addressed the Seventy-second session of the General Assembly in New York on October 25, to discuss the dismal situation of human rights in Iran that has been prevalent since the Regime took over in 1979.
Asma Jahangir, who was addressing the General Assembly for the first time since taking the role in November 2016, delivered a report on the first six months of 2017 which was based on sources both inside and outside of Iran.
Jahangir explained that she was worried about the rate of executions in Iran, as well she should be. Currently, Iran has the highest execution rate per capita and is one of the few countries to still execute juvenile offenders, in clear violation of the UN’s Rights of the Child charter.
She said: “I am concerned by the rate of executions in Iran. Reports indicate that since the beginning of the year 435 persons have been executed…At least four juvenile offenders were executed, and 86 more are known to be on death row, although the actual figure may be higher. I take the opportunity to reiterate my request for a list of all juvenile offenders on death row and reiterate my appeal to the Iranian authorities to urgently abolish the sentencing of children to death, and to engage in a comprehensive process of commutation of all death sentences issued against children, in line with juvenile justice standards.”
Jahangir also expressed concern about the death sentence levied against spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri for so-called corruption on earth- an exceptionally vague charge which the mullahs use when you haven’t actually committed a crime but they want to punish you anyway.
Taheri’s trial is believed to have violated several international standards including due process and coercion of witnesses. As such, Jahangir called for his conviction to be overturned.
She said: “I call for the immediate withdrawal of charges against Mr. Taheri and for his unconditional release, and the withdrawal of charges against all individuals held for peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, religion, or belief.”
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Jahangir also raised the worrying issue of torture, corporal punishment, and the denial of medical care to coerce confessions and punish people, which violates human rights law and international standards of justice.
She said: “I regretfully note that amputation, blinding, flogging, and the continued use of prolonged solitary confinement continues to be regularly practised. I am also deeply concerned by consistent reports of the denial of access to proper and necessary medical treatment of detainees, including the deprival of medical care as a form of punishment.”
Many political prisoners have gone on hunger strikes to protest the dismal conditions they are being kept in and the Regime refuses to allow them access to sorely needed medical care.
Prisoners of conscience
While on the topic of political prisoners, it is important to discuss the routine detention of human rights defenders, journalists, religious minorities, ethnic minorities, and political campaigners for freedom of expression and peaceful activism.
As of June 2017, no less than 26 journalists/bloggers had been arrested and/or sentenced for exercising press freedom. Many more had been harassed and/or intimidated by the Regime through interrogation, surveillance, amongst other things.
Jahangir even spoke to those working at the BBC Persian Service who had been harassed by the Regime and told that if they continued working their relatives would be targeted and their assets would be frozen.
She said: “They all sought private meetings for fear of the consequence of being identified as having provided information to my mandate.”
Another worrying trend is that of the imprisonment of dual nationals, like UK charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who have been accused of spying for Western countries and sentenced to many years in jail.
The 1988 Massacre
This persecution of ordinary Iranians based on their political beliefs is not a recent phenomenon but is well ingrained in the Iranian Regime’s DNA.
In 1988, the Regime slaughtered over 30,000 political prisoners in just a couple of months. They buried their bodies in mass graves, refused to tell the families what had happened, and attempted to hide their “crime against humanity” from the rest of the world.
Despite recent acknowledgements of the genocide from the highest-ranking members of the Regime, the international community has still been largely silent and this silence must end.
Jahangir said: “The families of the victims have a right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of these events and the fate of the victims without risking reprisal. I therefore reiterate my call upon the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.”
Rights of Women
As you can imagine, women in Iran are routinely oppressed by the Iranian Regime, whether its mandatory dress codes, banning women from attending sports matches, arresting people from reading and sharing feminist literature, excluding women from certain occupations, or many more misogynistic things.
Jahangir said: “I call upon the Government to address these concerns in practice, and in legislation through ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and to repeal all laws and policies that discriminate against women and girls.”
Jahangir paid tribute to the many human rights defenders who have risked their lives to speak to her about the situation in Iran.
She said: “I have received ongoing and consistent reports of harassment, intimidation, and prosecutions of human rights defenders. For example, the well respected human rights defender, Narges Mohammadi, continues to be imprisoned simply because of her commitment to human rights. I am also deeply concerned by the reports of attacks on women human rights defenders in the form of judicial harassment, detention, and smear campaigns.”
Even those living outside Iran fear reprisals from the Regime’s many terrorist proxy groups or that their family will be targeted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
European Lawmakers Call on the United Nations to Investigate the Massacre of 1988 in Iran and to Prosecute the Perpetrators
On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, the Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament (FOFI), held a conference at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the participation of dozens of MEPs. They called on the Council of the European Union, the member states and the High Representative of the European Union, Mrs. Federica Mogherini, to end silence and inaction with respect to the brutal violation of human rights in Iran. In particular, they called for an independent investigation by the United Nations into the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 and the preparation of the trial for those responsible for this crime.
The meeting was moderated by Gérard Deprez MEP (ALDE Group), chair of FOFI, which has the support of around 300 parliamentarians from various political groups and countries. In this meeting, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the political coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran was the guest speaker and several members of the European Parliament took part in the discussions.
Referring to the recent report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, in which Article 7 refers to the 1988 massacre, speakers called on the UN General Assembly meeting, to be held next week in New York, to form an investigation committee into the massacre, and called on the UN Security Council to refer this case to the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators of this crime would be brought to justice.
MEPs emphasized that indifference to this great crime that was unprecedented after the Second World War has made the Iranian regime more emboldened to continue mass executions and violations of international standards. Silence against these crimes if it is for the sake of business is shameful and if it is for the nuclear deal, would be quite naive. The regime gets the message of weakness from silence against this barbarism.
In July for example, 101 prisoners were executed. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said during his opening remarks in the UN Human Rights Council on 11 September 2017: “Since the beginning of the year at least four children have been put to death, and at least 89 other children remain on death row.”
Parliamentarians endorsed the 10-point platform of opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, that calls for democracy, secularism, respect for human rights, abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and peace and tranquility in the region. They emphasized that, based on 38 years of experience with this regime, as long as the religious dictatorship rules, oppression in Iran, and terrorism and fundamentalism in the region will remain.
The so-called presidential election in May was quite undemocratic as there were no opposition candidates. During the first four years of the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, more than 3,000 people were executed, making Iran the number state-executioner in the world per capita. He has described executions as rule of law and divine laws.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Iran wrote in her recent report: “Between July and August 1988, thousands of political prisoners, men, women and teen-agers, were reportedly executed pursuant to a fatwa issued by the then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini…
The report points to evidence that reveals “the names of the officials who had carried out and defended the executions, including the current Minister of Justice, a current high court judge, and the head of one of the largest religious foundations in the country and candidate in the May presidential elections.”
It adds: “Recently, these killings have been acknowledged by some at the highest levels of the State. The families of the victims have a right to know the truth about these events and the fate of their loved ones without risking reprisal. They have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.”
The MEPs regretted Mrs Mogherini’s silence about the 1988 massacre and generally for her silence about repression of women and human rights violations in Iran. “This silence by our EU High Representative only encourages the mullahs to continue their crimes in Iran. This is very bad for the reputation of Europe.
“We in the European Parliament, who are elected representatives of the people of Europe, we must defend European values which are democracy, human rights, women rights, separation of religion and state”.
MEPs urged European governments and the EU, to condition relations with Islamic Republic of Iran, to a suspension of executions and a clear progress on human rights.
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.
The 29th anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran was observed in a ceremony in the presence of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, political and human rights dignitaries from the US and Europe, and a large number of PMOI members in Tirana, capital of Albania.
Call for an international commission of inquiry to investigate 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran
Human rights, in particular, bringing to justice the officials involved in the 1988 massacre, should be at the core of Iran policy
Human rights defenders, dignitaries, European politicians and 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 call was made during an exhibition on the 1988 massacre that took place upon the initiative of Mr. Jean-François Legaret, the Mayor of Paris municipality District 1 at this municipality on Thursday, August 17, 2017.
In addition to Mr. Legaret, several French mayors including Armand Jacquemin, mayor of Moussy Le Vieux, Jean-Claude Jegoudez, mayor of Grisy-Sur-Seine, and Jacky Duminy, mayor of Ors took part and spoke at the exhibition.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in a message to the exhibition said 30,000 political prisoners were hanged in Iran in days such as these in the summer of 1988, without any reaction by Western governments.
Those who remained silent over this tragedy betrayed humanity because the mullahs found out that their crimes had no consequences. So, they continued by exporting their terrorism and fundamentalism abroad and drenching the Middle East in blood.
If in those days, the massacre had not been met with silence, today, the mullahs could not sink Syria in a whirlpool of blood.
The people of Iran want to end the impunity of those in charge of the massacre and hold them accountable. This has turned into the Iranian people’s most important political demand from the clerical regime. We urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the 1988 massacre. The UN Security Council must set up a special tribunal or refer the issue to the International Criminal Court to arrange for the prosecution of the leaders of the Iranian regime.
Mrs. Rajavi once again urged all governments to make their relations and trade with the religious fascism ruling Iran contingent on an end to executions and torture.
Governor Yves Bonnet, the former head of France’s domestic anti-terrorism organization; Struan Stevenson, a Scottish politician, President of “European Iraqi Freedom Association” and former President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, were among the dignitaries who took part in this exhibition and supported the call by the head of the opposition.
In his remarks, Stevenson condemned the recent trip of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to Iran and said: “Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,500 people, including 80 women, have been executed during the four years he has been in office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world’s number one state executioner per capita. Several hundred people have been executed so far this year, including women and teenagers. Three days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran, Amnesty International published a 94-page report highlighting the ‘web of oppression’ that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights situation in the country.”
He added: “The French government and the EU should also be demanding a full United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their clique of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague.”
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 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 Commissions, 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.
Ali Khamenei intended to put a member of the 1988 massacre’s Death Commission in the office of president, but the nationwide campaign calling for justice foiled his plans.
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 Avaie, is another one of the perpetrators of the massacre, who has been already designated as a violator of human rights by the European Union.
A number of relatives of the victims and individuals who spent years in prison in Iran and were tortured shared their observations with the audience during the exhibition.