MEK Iran: The 1988 Massacre, Eyewitness Accounts, Amir Houshang Atyabi
“I saw guards carrying bodies into trucks for 12 nights.” It was a nightmare.” Amir Houshang Atyabi, a former Iranian political prisoner who witnessed the massacre in Gohardasht prison in 1988, spoke these words. Atyabi was giving testimony in the trial of Hamid Noury, an Iranian jail official who was detained in Sweden in 2019. The trial of Noury, entered its sixty-first session on Monday, January 24. Nouri is on trial for his role in the massacre of over 30,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988, the majority of whom were members and sympathizers of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), Iran’s most powerful opposition organization.
Atyabi: They eventually gave me a ten-year sentence
After the Tudeh (Communist) Party of Iran was outlawed from political activities in Iran, Atyabi was jailed in 1983 for supporting the organization. “I was transported to ward 209 of Evin prison immediately after my detention and tortured until daylight,” Atyabi told the court, adding, “I spent a year and a half in prison before being condemned.” They eventually gave me a ten-year sentence.”
The prosecutor questioned. Atyabi about observing guards transporting the bodies of executed political detainees from Gohardasht prison, where he had been moved just before the massacre in 1988.
“They brought a larger truck so they could load more bodies into it,” he explained to the prosecutor, noting that the truck was not the same one he had seen the previous days. “It had an open roof.” They had rushed in this large load truck since the bodies had outgrown the capacity of the two refrigerated trucks, I had witnessed arriving at the prison the previous two days.”In Gohardasht prison, Hosseinieh was a spacious hall where prisoners were hanged in groups of ten to twelve.
“That day, I saw the most horrible scene in my life that still haunts me to this day. Through the window, I saw the two guards going on the top of the truck. I could clearly see them moving something to free up some space. Suddenly, I realized they were moving bodies. They were holding to limbs of dead bodies, moving them around,” Atyabi said to the court on Monday. After the regime’s then-Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa ordering the mass killing of all MEK members, the massacre began in late July 1988.
The so-called “Death Commissions,” made up of four officials, were in charge of carrying out Khomeini’s orders. Ebrahim Raisi, the current Iranian president, was a member of the killing committees in Tehran and Karaj. The “Death Commission” simply inquired as to whether the detainee continued to support the MEK. A favorable response meant execution. Nouri was a torturer in the regime’s Gohardasht jail in Karaj city during the time. Noury and other torturers in the authority took advantage of any opportunity to harass prisoners.
“Whenever we went to the prison yard, we could hear other prisoners’ cries under torture and the sound of flogging. These voices paralyzed us. Once I heard two prisoners who cried ‘henchmen, stop!’” Atyabi said. Many prisoners committed suicide due to the regime’s inhumane tortures, he added. “Another terrible incident was the suicide of a prisoner. We suddenly saw a prisoner jumping out of the window. We were wondering how he did this. We couldn’t understand whether he attempted to break from prison or he committed suicide,” Atyabi said.
MEK sympathizers and victims’ families continued their rally outside the courthouse on Monday, which ran concurrently with Noury’s trial. They pleaded with the international community to hold the Iranian regime and its corrupt leaders, such as Raisi, accountable.
It’s worth noting that the court case was moved to Albania in November on the judge’s orders so that MEK members living in Ashraf 3 could testify.
Raisi butcher of 1988 Massacre in Iran Ebrahim Raisi A return to darker days or a declaration of character by the theocratic regime? On June 19, Raisi was selected as President in the aftermath of a nationwide boycott of Iran’s sham elections.