NGOs have asked that perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre in Iran should be brought to justice. This call is being made while the UN Human Rights Council is in session which runs until October 7th, 2020. Also, the UN Office in Geneva has been distributing a written statement submitted by 21 international Non-Governmental Organizations demanding that those responsible for the 1988 massacre should face justice.
U.N. is Urged to Investigate the 1988 Massacre of Iranian Political Prisoners: Iranian officials brazenly claim Khomeini’s fatwa still stands against The People’s Mojahedin Organization of #Iran (#PMOI #MEK), dissidents. #FreeIran2020 https://t.co/zejlxAQSh1
— StopFundamentalism (@SFundamentalism) September 22, 2020
An excerpt from the statement says the following: ‘’We appeal to the United Nations (UN) and its Member States to investigate the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran and to hold the perpetrators of that ‘ongoing crime against humanity’ accountable.’’
What was the 1988 massacre?
After a fatwa was issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in mid-July 1988, 30,000 political prisoners were massacred. Most of them had strong links with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) and their executions took place over several months after short mock trials had taken place. Their corpses were flooded with disinfectant, packed into refrigerated vehicles, and buried during the night in mass graves throughout the country.
On 17th July, in a call for accountability and justice, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, demanded that the international community conduct an independent investigation into this 1988 massacre and request accountability for the crimes.
Instead of upholding justice, the Iranian judiciary oppresses and violates human rights. We urge the international community and individual governments to provide accountability and pursue justice for the regime's many victims. pic.twitter.com/Mr0HpJuJ5g
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) July 17, 2020
Several NGOs have already investigated the massacre. This includes the London based Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI). It revealed the identities of 87 Death Commission members some of whom still hold senior positions in the Iranian Judiciary or government. Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, and Justice Minister, Alireza Avaei, are two of these officials.
In the summer of 1988, the #Iranian regime summarily & extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners across #Iran. The massacre was carried out based on a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah #Khomeini. #MEK #WeSupportMEK @USAdarFarsi pic.twitter.com/F9Yv0xrn8w
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) August 29, 2019
Amnesty International investigated the massacre and discovered that Khomeini was the one who made the decision to authorize this crime against humanity. This was after he had been forced to accept an UN-backed ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq War. It is now saying that the UN should initiate an independent investigation and ensure that those responsible are given the penalty they deserve.
To make matters worse Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the Advisor to the Judiciary Chief and at the time a member of the Death Commissions, defended the 1988 massacre and said anyone caught as (PMOI / MEK Iran), activists would face the possibility of being executed.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI): We see the names of courageous women of Iran among the proud martyrs of the uprising. Their valiance and audacity instilled fear in Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guards, so much so that they repeatedly acknowledged the significant role of women in the uprising.
The Iranian regime’s attempt to repress the emotional executions of two political prisoners, Navid Afkari and Mostafa Salehi. Family members, friends, and others who knew them have gathered at Navid Afkari’s graveside in his memory. https://t.co/WuU5V57uAo
— StopFundamentalism (@SFundamentalism) September 21, 2020
In August 2020, Mostafa Salehi was executed by the Iranian Judiciary for the role he played during the 2018 anti-government protests. There are thousands of detainees that may follow in his footsteps. A report released by Reuters said that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had become impatient after the 2019 political protests. He told his team to do whatever it takes to quell any opposition which resulted in the shooting of 1,500 peaceful protesters. Human rights advocates believe that 12,000 are being detained in Iran.
Reuters confirmed in a special report on December 23, 2019, about the deadly crackdown on November nationwide protests in Iran the death toll of 1500 that was announced by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) on December 15, 2019.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 24, 2019
Despite concerns that action cannot be taken against those responsible for the 1988 massacres because it took place so long ago it is possible to try and prosecute the perpetrators and there are still survivors of the massacre who are prepared to testify.
The problem remains that if the international community still sits on the fence and refuses to confront the Iranian government this is equivalent to giving them permission to carry out more political murders.
1. Before your government executed Navid Afkari, he was repeatedly tortured and his confession televised on Iranian state TV. Do you torture all your political prisoners, or just when you want to televise their confessions and need to make sure they comply? #QuestionsforZarif pic.twitter.com/e5ThrKcDNu
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) September 20, 2020