MEK Iran: Human Rights Crimes
The summer of 1988 massacre
In the summer of 1988, when the Iranian dictatorship attempted to systematically annihilate the major opposition, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), more than 1,000 former Iranian political prisoners took part, and some of them related their experiences standing before “death commissions.”
Law specialists spoke at the conference
A number of European politicians and international law specialists also spoke at the conference, emphasising the importance of accountability and the methods for achieving it.
EU extended an open hand to the “henchman”
On August 5, the EU extended an open hand to the Iranian government by sending Enrique Mora, the European External Action Service’s deputy political director, to the inauguration of the Iranian regime’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi.
This decision disregarded the fact that a large number of Iranian residents and expats had vocally opposed Raisi’s candidacy and asked the international world to do the same, citing his high-level involvement in the 1988 massacre.
Raisi was a deputy prosecutor for Tehran at the time, and according to all reports, he jumped at the chance to join the Tehran death commission as one of four members. Many of the former political prisoners who spoke out last week said they saw Raisi in their detention facilities and remarked that he was very active in passing death sentences swiftly, frequently after only speaking with a “victim” for a minute.
The 1988 massacre to go unpunished
The EU effectively legitimised the authority of human rights abusers and accused genocide perpetrators over all operations of Iran’s judicial and executive branch by sending a delegation to Raisi’s inauguration.
If the EU leadership fails to change this choice by implementing at least some of the conference’s proposals, it risks not only allowing the 1988 massacre to go unpunished, but also emboldening Iran to commit even more large-scale human rights violations.
Violent crackdown on dissent
As the head of the judiciary, Raisi was already inspired when he handled crucial aspects of a violent crackdown on dissent in the aftermath of a countrywide uprising in November 2019.
Approximately 1,500 protesters were slain in mass shootings almost immediately, with a further 12,000 arrested. As reported in an Amnesty International study titled “Trampling Humanity,” many of those arrested were tortured for months in various Iranian prisons.
Continuing crimes under international law
Raisi should be probed for his role in past and continuing crimes under international law, including by governments with universal jurisdiction, according to the report.
A UN investigation that could lead to Raisi and others being prosecuted at the International Criminal Court is valuable, according to Eric David, a Belgian international law scholar, but such an investigation should be “encouraged without forgetting at any time that these are crimes that justify the application of universal jurisdiction.”
As a result, the significant obstacle to justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre is political rather than legal. It is past time for the EU to cease turning a blind eye to the genocide of 1988 if it is willing to stand by its principles and respect for global human rights.