MEK: UN Report Iran’s 1988 massacre
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, submitted a report to the UN General Assembly this week on Iran’s human rights status. The ongoing crime against humanity of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners was one of the topics raised in this report.
Maryam Akbari Monfared
Authorities have attempted to conceal mass graves linked to the massacre, according to the report, and family members of victims have been harassed for protesting or otherwise seeking to raise public awareness.
The case of Maryam Akbari Monfared, who served 12 years of a 15-year sentence for her involvement in large-scale protests in 2009, was cited in the report as an example of the latter trend. The report stated that “harassment against her increased after she filed a formal complaint in 1988 seeking an official investigation into the executions of political prisoners, including her siblings.”
The strategy of deflection and denial
Tehran made it very clear that it was still devoted not just to harassment and a “strategy of deflection and denial,” as described by UN experts, but also to a long-standing practice of rewarding perpetrators in the 1988 massacre and other human rights violations.
The Iranian regime’s “election” of Ebrahim Raisi as president took place in June 2021, even though his campaign was almost uncontested, and the process was boycotted by most Iranian people.
The massacre in 1988
Raisi was a deputy prosecutor in Tehran before the massacre in 1988. He was one of four officials on the Tehran “death commission” that oversaw the implementation of capital punishment for virtually all political prisoners believed to still support the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran). Following a fatwa from then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini that targeted organized opposition to the theocratic dictatorship.
Raisi was directly or indirectly responsible for all the about 30,000 executions that occurred over the course of around three months in 1988.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard described Raisi’s appointment as “a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran” and criticized the fact that it occurred instead of Raisi being “investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance, and torture.”
Iranian president appeared to reinforce Tehran’s impunity
Soon after taking office, the new Iranian president appeared to reinforce Tehran’s impunity by choosing several cabinet ministers who are sanctioned by the US and EU for human rights violations, terrorist activity, illegal nuclear research, and missile development. Several of them have been directly linked to terrorist plots around the world, and one of them, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, is even wanted by Interpol for commanding the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps at the time of a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
Consequences for the 1988 tragedy
No one has ever faced legal consequences for the 1988 tragedy until just last month. When former Iranian prison official Hamid Noury arrived in Sweden for a visit.
Swedish authorities made the politically brave decision to implement the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Legal scholars Eric David and Geoffrey Robertson
Legal scholars Eric David and Geoffrey Robertson, speaking at a recent virtual conference hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), highlighted the clear opportunity for any country to apply the same principle to the case of Ebrahim Raisi, whose acts of mass murder on religious grounds may meet the legal criteria for genocide.