Free Iran Global Summit: Holding the regime to account for 1988 massacre
In the second part of the Free Iran Global Summit, a number of distinguished speakers spoke about the calls for justice for the 1988 massacre during which the regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members or supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
Kazem Panahi, a former political prisoner, described the torture that he endured and witnessed during his short time in prison. He was lucky enough to escape despite being handed a death sentence by interrogators. He said that no matter what the regime does, the MEK will ensure that the regime falls.
Member of the MEK Bahador Kiamarzi described how his father was mistreated in prison, never allowing him to meet his son in a bid to put pressure on him. Mr. Kiamarzi’s father was killed during the 1988 massacre. He vowed to see the regime fall and to ensure that the sacrifice of the political prisoners will not be in vain.
Damona Taavoni, a member of the MEK, was put in prison with her mother when she was just six years old. She said that she is one of the voices of the 30,000 political prisoners that were executed. While in prison she heard the torture that prisoners were put through. Her father was one of the political prisoners killed in 1988 and she said that she is proud of the sacrifice that he made for the freedom of the people.
Former political prisoner Homa Jaberi said that the claims MEK members in Ashraf are responsible for torture are hurtful, not least because of the severe mental and physical abuse the regime inflicted upon them.
Next to speak was Mr. Henri Leclerc, a prominent French lawyer and Honorary President of the Human Rights League. He questioned what law the regime uses to determine who is “God’s enemy” and who to execute. He spoke about the regime’s crimes against humanity and its human rights abuses, emphasizing that there is a long list. Mr. Leclerc made it clear that the world needs to know what happens in the country.
President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI), Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, delivered the keynote speech, describing the 1988 massacre as one of the most horrific crimes of the regime. She said that the regime’s attempt to annihilate the (PMOI / MEK Iran) failed and that the Iranian Resistance continues to honor those that lost their lives in the name of freedom. “The sacred blood of those martyrs, particularly those slain in 1988, are today roaring in Iran, giving rise to generation after generation of rebellious youths who are motivated and inspired by it.”
Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate and dedicated supporter of the Iranian Resistance, said that the regime has taken away the freedom of the people. The regime, she emphasized, is an enemy of the people. Ms. Betancourt said that the only justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre is for the regime to fall.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, a renowned human rights barrister, said that the United Nationals failed in its duty all those years ago because it failed to hold the regime accountable. He reiterated that many of the officials involved with the 1988 massacre are still alive, and worse, they hold positions of power. Speaking about the living victims, those that lost a loved one in 1988, Mr. Robertson said that they do not even know the final resting place of their relatives – the cruelest part of the whole situation. He said that the officials should be sanctioned so that “we can hold them accountable and go on the offensive against the perpetrators of one of the worst crimes against humanity”.
Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that the situation in Iran requires immediate action because of the crimes it is committing, the terrorist attacks it is plotting, and the suppression of the people. “Time for impunity is over.”
British MP Steve McCabe praised the Iranian Resistance for shedding so much light on the 1988 massacre and said that the tide is changing.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2014 and President of the International Committee in Search of Justice, said that international intervention is needed because the regime cannot impartially investigate as it was the perpetrator. He said that the pain experienced by the families of those that died continues to this day because justice has never been served.
Also making it clear that the regime cannot be part of the investigation was Taher Boumedra, former head of the UN Advisory Mission for Iraq’s Human Rights Office. He said: “Let’s warn the UN that enough is enough. The regime will not investigate its own crimes.”
Lincoln Bloomfield, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Military Affairs, spoke about the extensive investigations he has carried out with regards to allegations made against the MEK. He emphasized that he has been able to debunk these allegations and stressed the importance of Western media and think tanks to stop repeating falsehoods because all is it doing is keeping “a weak and illegitimate regime in power”.
Former Norwegian MP Lars Rise criticized Western governments for believing the regime’s lies and propaganda but reassured the Iranian Resistance that those who stand for justice and the truth will finally prevail.
British solicitor Geoffrey Bindman spoke about the practical measures that can be taken, explaining that the United Kingdom, its allies in the European Union, and the United Nations “have a duty and responsibility to make sure that the UN General Assembly that addresses the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses every year establishes a system to prosecute those who are responsible for serious human rights abuses in Iran”.
Former Palestinian Chief Justice Taisir al-Tamimi spoke about the “painful anniversary of the 1988 massacre”, emphasizing that more than 700 of those that died were under the age of 18 and 62 were pregnant women. He said: “Islam is only a cover for this regime. We need to prosecute these criminals in court.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission Ken Blackwell said that the people of Iran need to be supported. He said: “We must expose this regime and their reign of terror with what we can. We must demand that the world court tries these criminals for their crimes against humanity. By supporting the people of Iran, we give humanity and freedom a fighting chance. We must be the points of light in the shadow of darkness. We must be agents of change, take the risks to be supporters that there be actions taken against this regime of darkness and terror. Let’s commit to be a force for change.”
Former UK Speaker of the House of Commons Baroness Betty Boothroyd urged the British government “to stand on the right side of history and recognize Maryam Rajavi and the NCRI as the true representative of the people of Iran”. Baroness Boothroyd said that Iran will soon be free.
Italian Senator Lucio Malan emphasized that the regime “does not respect international laws and spreads terrorism” and therefore “there is no reason for the UN to lift the UN arms embargo on Iran”. Mr. Malan said that he urges the European leaders to support the arms embargo extension in the interests of international peace and security.
Distinguished American Civil Liberty Lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz said that the Iranian regime will “stop at absolutely nothing to preserve its illegitimate and undemocratic regime” and he called on “all the good people of the world to focus this attention on Iran today”.
Els Van Hoof, a Belgian MP, said that in this century it should not be tolerated that people are jailed just because they have a different opinion to that of the people ruling the country.
Canadian Senator Leo Housakas ended the series of speeches on a note of positivity, declaring that the people of Iran will get the freedom and democracy that they have worked so hard for and are so deserving of.