U.S. State Department Voices Support for Independent Investigation into 1988 Massacre
On Thursday, December 10, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Robert A. Destro publicly voiced the support of the United States for an independent investigation into the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), political prisoners.
“The United States echoes the UN’s call for an independent investigation into mass disappearances and summary executions in Iran in 1988, though the alleged involvement of current senior officials makes it highly unlikely the regime will investigate itself,” he tweeted from his official Twitter account.
The regime has failed to provide families an accounting of the fate of their loved ones. Instead, they threaten families and desecrate grave sites. Iranians deserve justice. We urge the international community to hold the regime accountable to the UN's demands. #HumanRightsDay
— Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (@DRL_AS) December 10, 2020
“The regime has failed to provide families an accounting of the fate of their loved ones. Instead, they threaten families and desecrate gravesites. Iranians deserve justice. We urge the international community to hold the regime accountable to the UN’s demands,” he added in a second tweet.
U.N. Special Rapporteurs Call for Investigation
Destro’s statement follows a recent letter from seven United Nations Special Rapporteurs to the Iranian regime calling for an independent investigation into the 1988 Massacre. The letter emphasized that the extrajudicial executions of political prisoners could be defined as “crimes against humanity.”
“We are concerned that the situation may amount to crimes against humanity. Should your Excellency’s Government continue to refuse to uphold its obligations under international human rights law, we call on the international community to take action to investigate the cases including through the establishment of an international investigation,” the letter stated.
UN #HumanRights experts recently wrote a letter regarding the 1988 massacre of political prisoners #Iran, emphasizes that the 1988 Massacre could be considered a crime against humanity and an investigation into incident is imperative. #MEK https://t.co/FaRooFm3Sn pic.twitter.com/1gYjUKaBc8
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) December 11, 2020
“To date, no official in Iran has been brought to justice and many of the officials involved continue to hold positions of power including in key judicial, prosecutorial and government bodies responsible for ensuring the victims receive justice,” it added.
Notorious Tehran Death Commissioner Ebrahim Raisi is the regime’s current judiciary chief and a possible candidate to replace Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei after his death. Raisi has imposed harsh sentences, including the death penalty, on political prisoners, since his appointment to the bench.
Statement from Amnesty International
Amnesty International applauded the U.N. letter in a statement from Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “UN experts’ communication is a momentous breakthrough. It marks a turning point in the long-standing struggles of victims’ families and survivors, supported by Iranian human rights organizations and Amnesty International, to end these crimes and obtain truth, justice and reparation,” she wrote.
Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into the 1988 Massacre for many years, and it has conducted a number of its own investigations into the massacre and the regime’s targeting of the (PMOI / MEK Iran). Amnesty has found evidence of mass graves in several locations in Iran and reported on the regime’s intimidation of victim’s families in the decades after the massacre. According to Amnesty, most of the victims of the 1988 Massacre were peaceful protesters, many of whom had already completed their sentences. Some had been imprisoned for simply handing out fliers.
Congratulations on World #HumanRightsDay, heralding an end to the oppression of human kind &violations of their rights. Today is the day to pay tribute to all defenders of human freedom &dignity who have kept aflame human rights in the fight against tyranny. #StandUp4HumanRights pic.twitter.com/srVYwwjyly
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 10, 2020
Maryam Rajavi’s Response
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi responded to the letter in a statement. “The report is a testament to the resistance of those martyrs in defense of their ideals. Thirty-two years after the massacre, this report is a major and qualitative step in the advancement of the movement for justice for the victims of that massacre,” she said.
She emphasized that the regime’s refusal to honor its “obligations under international human rights law” increases the need for the MEK’s dossier on the Iranian regime’s crimes against humanity to be referred to the U.N. Security Council.
”The mullahs ruling Iran, particularly Ali Khamenei, Hassan Rouhani, Ebrahim Raisi, and many of the ministers and directors of the regime’s Judiciary, Intelligence Ministry and IRGC were involved in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and throughout the 1980s. They must face justice for committing crimes against humanity,” she added.
Tags: 1988 Massacre, Iran human rights, Iran Opposition, Iran Protests, Maryam Rajavi, MEK, Mujahedin-e Khalq, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), NCRI, People's Mojahedin organization of Iran, PMOI