International censure of 1988 massacre in Iran
Prominent personalities, experts, NGOs voice concern over crimes against humanity
Twenty years after the then Iranian authorities began a wave of largely secret, summary and mass executions in September 1988, Amnesty International renews its call for those responsible for the “prison massacre” to be held accountable. There should be no impunity for such gross human rights violations, regardless of when they were committed.
UN chief warns of crackdown against dissidents seeking justice over Iran’s 1988 massacre
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has in a new report to the Human Rights Council included references to Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners and human rights abuses towards campaigners demanding justice over the massacre.
An advance edited version of the report “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran” (A/HRC/34/40) distributed on 30 March 2017 to member states at the Human Rights Council’s thirty-fourth session includes the following paragraphs related to the 1988 massacre:
31. In October, Akbari Monfared, who was serving a 15-year prison sentence in relation to her alleged membership of the banned opposition group known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, was reportedly denied medical treatment after publishing a letter demanding justice for her brothers and sisters who were reportedly executed in 1988.
62. In November, Ahmad Montazeri, a 60-year-old cleric, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a clerical court in the city of Qom on charges of acting against national security and releasing a classified audio file, and for propaganda against the system. In August, he had released an audio recording of a discussion dating back to 1988 in which his father, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, reportedly argued with leaders of the judiciary and condemned the execution of thousands of prisoners in 1988. The trial of Mr. Montazeri was reportedly held behind closed doors and he was prevented from choosing his own lawyer. The Secretary-General’s predecessor expressed deep concern over the imprisonment of Mr. Montazeri and the apparent lack of investigation into the revelations contained in the audio recording.(27)
Asma Jahangir highlights clampdown on dissidents calling for justice over Iran’s 1988 massacre
Asma Jahangir, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, has in her latest report to the Human Rights Council included references to Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners and human rights abuses towards campaigners demanding justice over the massacre.
An advance edited version of the report (A/HRC/34/65) distributed on 17 March 2017 to member states at the Human Rights Council’s thirty-fourth session includes the following paragraphs related to the 1988 massacre:
31. In a report published in July 2016, a non-governmental source highlighted 18 cases of denial of medical treatment(21) and indicated that the objective of this practice was to intimidate and punish political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. More than half of the 16 communications sent by the mandate to the State authorities during the second half of 2016 concern allegations of denial of medical treatment.
32. In the case of Akbari Monfared who was serving a 15-year prison sentence in relation to her membership in the banned opposition group known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the denial of medical treatment reportedly took place after she had published a letter demanding justice for her brothers and sisters who were reportedly executed in 1988. The Government responded to most of the communications indicating that prisoners were in good health and were benefiting from proper health and medical facilities.
58. In November 2016, Ahmad Montazeri, a cleric and son of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic, was sentenced to several years in prison after he released a decades-old audio tape in which his father denounced the mass execution of political prisoners during the summer of 1988. Ahmad Montazeri was arrested on charges of “acting against the national security”, “releasing a classified audio file” and “propaganda against the system”. Ahmad Montazeri’s father was one of few Iranian leaders to voice opposition to the reported execution of thousands of political dissidents in 1988, who had already been tried and sentenced to prison in detention facilities throughout the country.(50)
British MPs table motion urging UN probe into Iran’s 1988 massacre
Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom have tabled an Early Day Motion highlighting the 1988 mass killing of political prisoners in Iran and calling on the relevant United Nations bodies to order an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. EDM 448 has thus far received the support of 80 MPs, whose names have been published on the UK Parliament website.
The following is the text of EDM 448, as published on the Parliament website:
Source: Early day motion 448
DEATH OF POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN IN 1988
Date tabled: 13.09.2016
Primary sponsor: Amess, David
Sponsors: Shannon, Jim | Meale, Alan | Robinson, Gavin | Blackman, Bob | Dowd, Jim
That this House notes that the audio file of Ayatollah Montrazeri, former heir to Khomeini, in 1988, reveals new evidence about the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran’s prisons in the summer of 1988 including women and children and all political prisoners who supported the opposition movement of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI); understands that the massacre was carried out following a fatwa by the Supreme Leader Khomeini, who ordered all political prisoners loyal of the PMOI to be immediately executed; is concerned by Montazeri’s comments that this was the biggest crime that has occurred in the Islamic Republic and that the world will not forgive us for this crime; agrees that the impunity of the authorities of the Iranian regime in the past three decades is the main cause for continuation of these crimes in Iran; endorses the survivors’ account that those in charge of the massacre go unpunished and are currently appointed in high positions of the Iranian government including Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Minister of Justice, and Hossein Ali Nayeri, Head of Administrative Court for the Judges; urges the Government to recognise and condemn this brutal massacre as a crime against humanity and ask the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council to order an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Human rights groups submit written statement to HRC on Iran’s 1988 massacre
Six human rights organizations with consultative status to the United Nations human rights body have submitted a joint written statement to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran and the need for the international community to hold the perpetrators to account.
The joint written statement is titled: “The 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran constitutes a crime against humanity”.
Click here to read the Joint written statement submitted by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, a non-governmental organization in general consultative status, Women’s Human Rights International Association, Edmund Rice International Limited, France Libertes : Foundation Danielle Mitterrand, non-governmental organizations in special consultative status, International Educational Development, Inc., Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples, non-governmental organizations on the roster.
Tribune de Genève: ‘Iran will have to answer for the 1988 massacre’
The Swiss daily Tribune de Genève (TDG) reported from the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva about the calls for a commission of inquiry into Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners. The following is the English translation and full French text of the report which appeared in the print edition of the TDG on 16 March 2017:
There is increasingly strong pressure for opening an inquiry into the execution of thousands of opponents.
By Alain Jourdan
16 March 2017
New ISJ Report: “Horrifying Audio File of Top Iran Official Confirms the 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners”
The International Committee In Search of Justice publishes today a new report “Horrifying Audio File of Top Iran Official Confirms the 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners”
ISJ calls for an international tribunal to investigate the crimes
A draft bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning the government of Iran for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and for denying the evidence of crimes against humanity.
The draft bill “H. RES. 188”, sponsored by Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX) on 9 March 2017, has already been cosponsored by 51 other bi-partisan members of Congress.
The bill urges: (1) the Administration and U.S. allies to condemn the massacre and pressure the Iranian government to provide detailed information to the victims’ families about their loved ones and their final resting places; and (2) the United Nations (U.N.) Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran and the U.N. Human Rights Council to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the massacre, gather evidence, identify the perpetrators, and bring them to justice.
The full text of H. RES. 188 and the list of co-sponsors have been published on the Congress website: