Iran: 1988 massacre audio tape publisher tried in court

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have reported that Ahmad Montazeri, the son of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (former Deputy Supreme Leader and Khomeini’s nominated successor at the time) was tried in the Special Court for Clerics (SCC) in Qom on Wednesday 19th October for publishing the audio recording of his father speaking to the “Death Commission” in 1988.

His family announced the news and said that the court session was “behind closed doors without the presence of a defense lawyer and jury”. Ahmad Montazeri is accused of “acting against national security”.

His family said that Ahmad Montazeri has denied the charges. However, the authorities have requested that the content of the meeting is not published until the court’s verdict has been announced. 

The trial started at 9 a.m. and ended at approximately 1 p.m. The NCRI state: “The Special Court for Clerics does not exist in the constitution of the Islamic Republic but the Court has been handling the cases of allegation and offenses committed by this stratum for years. The Court is accountable only to the Supreme Leader.”

In the above-mentioned audio recording, Ayatollah Montazeri was heard speaking to members of the “Death Commission”. These people were tasked with approving all executions during the 1988 massacre on the orders of the regime’s then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Ayatollah Montazeri said that the mass execution of political prisoners is “the greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic”.

Most of the 30,000 people who were killed during the massacre were People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) members. The PMOI have once again called for justice and have called on the leaders of the Islamic Republic to be tried for crimes against humanity. The PMOI is joined by 100 Iranian civil society figures, academics and human rights activists living abroad who also call on the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court to recognize the 1988 massacre of political prisoners as a “crime against humanity”.