1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

The UN Must Investigate the 1988 Massacre

1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

More than 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK activists were slain during the summer of 1988, a crime against humanity that has yet to be accounted for.

Patrick Goodenough published an opinion piece on CNS news on Friday, December 7th. The piece, entitled, “New Report: UN Should Investigate Secret Execution of Thousands of Iranian Dissidents 30 Years Ago”, referred to Amnesty International’s latest report on the 1988 massacre.

Amnesty International collected witness testimonies, audio and video evidence, as well as extensive documentation on the extra-judicial killings that took place in the summer of 1988. The report found that the Iranian regime systematically rounded up and killed members of the Iranian opposition, including members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

Around 30,000 dissidents were executed during the summer of 1988. The regime dumped their bodies in mass graves. The mullahs then worked tirelessly destroy evidence of their atrocities. To this day, they have refused to come clean about the events that took place that summer and refused to reveal the locations of the mass graves.

Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity

Patrick Goodenough quoted Amnesty International’s Middle East and Africa research and advocacy director, Philip Luther, who said, “until Iran’s authorities come clean and publicly reveal the fate and whereabouts of the victims, these crimes against humanity are ongoing”.

Amnesty International is calling for a UN investigation into the forced disappearances and killings.

The report, Goodenough says, suggests that there may have been 32 execution locations used in the killings, spread out across Iran. Prisons during the period were placed on “lockdown” and family visits were suspended, leaving many victim’s families unsure whether their loved one was dead or alive.

Many of Those Responsible Hold Positions of Authority Today

Goodenough laments that many of the regime’s “death commissions” responsible for the abduction and execution of political dissidents in 1988 still hold positions in the regime’s political leadership.

The Justice Minister, Alireza Avaei, has strong links to the 1988 atrocities. As does, the former Justice Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, the head of a supreme disciplinary court for judges, and Ebrahim Raeesi, Iran’s former prosecutor general.

All three men where present at a “death commission” meeting in 1988, of which secret recordings were leaked to the public in 2016. During the meeting, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montarezi is clearly heard warning those in attendance that the extra-judicial killings would bring international criticism. He called the crime, “the biggest crime in the history of the Islamic Republic”.

Montazeri’s defiance of the regime and criticism of its crimes led to his house arrest before he died in 2009.

Goodenough’s report acknowledged that it will take significant public pressure to bring about the opening of a UN investigation into the matter. He quoted Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who said that it would take “a major public pressure campaign, perhaps a strong push at the UN by the United States to call on the UN secretary general to initiate an independent inquiry into the massacre”.

Staff Writer



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