International Day Against the Death Penalty, Call to End Impunity of Iranian Regime Officials

For a country like Iran, the International Day Against the Death Penalty means a lot. From day one the regime of Iran has been based its rule on the pillars of domestic crackdown, and exporting terrorism and a reactionary, religious mentality.

By Armin Baldwin

For a country like Iran, the International Day Against the Death Penalty means a lot. Executions were always used in Iran to crackdown political opponents during the Shah time. But after the revolution, when ayatollahs took power, execution of many political opponents was justified under the label of Moharebeh (war against God and the state).

In 2003, 10 October is the day to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and to raise awareness of the conditions and the circumstances which affect prisoners with death sentences. This day is organized and supported by World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and numerous, including Amnesty International.

The death penalty was instituted 1800 years before Christ, in an age of ignorance and a world far from civilization. This punishment has always been used to avenge and promote intimidation and to consolidate political power.

For a country like Iran, the International Day Against the Death Penalty means a lot. Executions were always used in Iran to crackdown political opponents during the Shah time. But after the revolution, when ayatollahs took power, execution of many political opponents was justified under the label of Moharebeh (war against God and the state).

From day one the regime of Iran has been based its rule on the pillars of the domestic crackdown and exporting terrorism and a reactionary, religious mentality.

Systematic violations of human rights became Institutional and relentlessly continued to this day.

At the end of July 1988, Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of political prisoners. Death Commissions were formed in more than 70 towns and cities. More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in Iran in the summer of 1988. The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition People’s Mojahedin (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK).

Hassan Rouhani the current Iranian regime’s president presents himself as a moderate. But at least 3,800 people were executed during Hassan Rouhani’s tenure including 96 women and this made Iran second in the world when it came to the number of people it executed, and first in terms of the number of executions per capita.

As Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council in 1998, Hassan Rouhani ordered the crackdown of student protesters of Tehran University.

According to state media during the nationwide uprising of 2017 and 2018 against economic policies of the regime more than 7000 people have been arrested. The protests spread throughout the country and turned into political opposition to the theocratic regime of Iran and its longtime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

The protests began with a vast nationwide uprising orchestrated by the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). The MEK has played a leading role in the protests taking place across Iran. As the movement to topple the mullahs’ regime has grown, the people have sought a viable alternative to the corrupt dictatorship that has destroyed Iran’s economy and environment, and that has oppressed its people for the past four decades. The MEK offers a democratic alternative that will restore freedom to Iran.

In early 2018, Rouhani phoned French President Emmanuel Macron to ask him to act against the MEK based in Paris and accused them of fomenting the recent unrest. Something that Emmanuel Macron rejected.

Since January 2019, 200 people have been executed in Iran and the highest number of execution have been in July and August. The death penalty is an instrument for the regime to control the shaking society of Iran.

By worldwide activities of MEK supporters, the Iranian regime’s gross violation of human rights is well-known to everyone and the UN has condemned them for violations over 60 times.

Numerous human rights groups with Consultative Status at the United Nations Human Rights Council have called on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to support the launch of an independent fact-finding mission into Iran’s 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners mostly members of the MEK.

In a joint written statement to the Human Rights Council’s 42nd session, seven NGOs stated that perpetrators of the 1988 massacre are currently running Iran’s Judiciary with total impunity.

The NGOs demanding accountability over this crime against humanity.
Key points about Iran's 1988 Massacre:

- More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in Iran in the summer of 1988.
- The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Khomeini.
- The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition People's Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK).
- Death Commissions approved all the death sentences.
- Alireza Avaei, a member of the Death Commissions, is today Hassan Rouhani’s Justice Minister.
- The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have never been brought to justice.
- On August 9, 2016, an audiotape was published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir acknowledging that that massacre took place and had been ordered at the highest levels.


In a conference held at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on Friday 20 September 2019, international human rights experts called for an end to the impunity enjoyed by Iranian regime officials in regard to atrocious human rights conditions in Iran, most specifically those involved in the summer 1988 massacre of the MEK members and supporters.

“Why should there now be a tribunal on the crime against humanity committed in 1988? First, because lawyers have examined evidence and know beyond doubt that a crime was committed. If Iran disputes that, we have a process for that,” said Kirsty Brimelow, QC, international human rights lawyer, in her opening remarks.

“I’m a witness. I escaped Khomeini’s prison; else I would have been one of the victims of the 1988 massacre. I was sentenced to eight years in prison. After the execution of my sister, I managed to escape prison after three years. My father was sent to prison in my place,” said Behzad Naziri, former political prisoner and member of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

“The time has come for the international community to end three decades of impunity for the clerical regime leaders in Iran and to hold them accountable for their crimes. The time has come for referring the dossier of human rights violations in Iran, particularly the executions of the 1980s and the 1988 massacre, to the UN Security Council. The time has come for Khamenei and his accomplices to face justice for committing crimes against humanity. The time has come for the United Nations to launch an international fact-finding mission on the 1988 massacre in Iran. And the time has come for the world to recognize the right of the people of Iran to resistance and struggle to overthrow the mullahs’ religious fascism. I urge the international community, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, and its member states, as well as other relevant United Nation agencies, the European Union, and all advocates of human rights and justice, to rise up and to end the impunity of those responsible for the 1988 massacre,” said Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the President-Elect of the NCRI at the conference of Calling for Justice for the 1988 Massacre in Ashraf 3 (home to Iranian opposition group MEK in Albania) on July 2019.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi believes in a future Iran without the death penalty. She declared that “Our plan for future is an Iran without the death penalty and devoid of torture and our plan is putting an end to torture and all forms of human rights abuse in Iran.”

“The Iranian Resistance declared years ago that it calls for the abolition of the death penalty and an end to torture and all forms of rights abuses in Iran, our plan is to revive friendship, conciliation, and tolerance, and to put an end to the mullahs’ religious decrees. We reject the inhuman penal code and other abusive laws of this regime. We believe Retribution is an inhuman law and we advocate laws that are based on forgiveness, compassion, and humanity,” said Maryam Rajavi in her statement on abolition of the death penalty.

During the last four decades and especially in the last six years, Hassan Rouhani has played a key role in all of the regime’s human rights violations as the President and the chairperson of the clerical regime’s Supreme Security Council.

It is incumbent on the international community, particularly the UN, to hold the Iranian regime and its president accountable for allowing such egregious human rights violations and to refer Iran’s human rights violations dossier to the United Nations Security Council.

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